With the new book season here, let's countdown the top ten most anticipated titles of 2009.
#2 The Rocket: A Cultural History of Maurice Richard by Benoit Melancon was a huge hit when it was released in French back in 2006. The English version has been long awaited, and well worth the wait.
#2 Coast to Coast: Hockey in Canada to the Second World War by John Wong. None other than noted hockey author Kevin Shea has already trumpeted to me how good this book is. It is very academic reading, but fascinating. He looks at the ways Canadians consume hockey differently based on their socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, and location, and how hockey's place in Canada has evolved and changed.
#4 Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey - Todd Denault's first release promises to be a big hit. While we currently debate who's better, Brodeur or Roy, Denault will take a convincing look at the goaltender who I think may still out rank today's stars.
# 5 Playing With Fire by Theo Fleury. Fleury is busy trying to be the feel good story of the NHL this season. I suspect when his autobiography comes he will be revealing more interesting stories about his life.
#6 Leafs AbomiNation: The dismayed fans' handbook to why the Leafs stink and how they can rise again - Dave Feschuk and Michael Grange have an interesting book coming. It looks like it could almost be comical - the listed price: $19.67.
#7 From the Broadcast Booth: A Career in the World of Network Hockey - Brian McFarlane has put out more hockey books than anybody, and a lot of his stuff is regurgitated. But I'm really looking forward to this one. His best book, in my opinion, was 2001's Brian McFarlane's World of Hockey. He was open and a great story teller in the surprisingly entertaining book. I'm hoping for more of that in his October 2009 release.
#8 TSN's Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie releases his first book, Hockey Dad: True Confessions From a (Crazy) Hockey Parent, as early as late August 2009. His oldest son is now playing in US college while his other son was forced out of the game at age 14 due to concussions. McKenzie is a TV and print personality, but he is said to be open and candid in this highly personal look at the good and the bad of hockey.
#9 Canada's Game: Hockey and Identity by Andrew Holman. Another academic title where the author looks at hockey's important place in Canadian cultural life, and helps to explain why hockey is so important to so many Canadians.
#10 Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer by Bruce Boudreau. A life long minor leaguer/underdog who finally made it big as a NHL coach, the likeable Gabby will have many stories to share.