The Gift Of A Hockey Book

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News penned a brilliant and personal article for Christmas. It was about how he received a hockey book - Brian McFarlane's Hockey Annual - for Christmas 1973, and how that changed his life forever:

Prior to getting that book, I was what is known today as a “reluctant reader.” But after receiving Brian McFarlane’s Hockey Annual, I couldn’t get enough of the written word. I consumed that tome cover to cover hundreds of times, used the information in it for class projects and speeches and because of it, became a student of hockey history. I swear there were passages from that book that I could recite verbatim. From there, I picked up every other hockey book I could find and read each one voraciously.

And now, when I look back almost 30 years later, I can trace my chosen profession back to that one book. Becoming a reader made me want to write and wanting to write, combined with my passion for hockey, led me to journalism school at Carleton University and a career in hockey journalism. I’d call it a job, but it rarely ever feels as though I’m working. I’ve covered Stanley Cup finals, World Junior Championships and Olympics and travelled the world, in large part because of the seeds that book sowed in 1973. I still own it, in fact. Actually, I’ve already passed it down to my 13-year-old son Lukas, and he vows to keep it for his son.

Was there ever a hockey book from your youth that had a profound effect on you? For me I have a fairly similar story with Stan Fischler's Hockey's 100. Tell me your influential hockey book from your youth.


Francis Bouchard said…
Nice story! I believe my first contact with hockey books was through my elementary school library. In my small town, we didn't have a bookstore and I never got any hockey books for Christmas. In school, I remember I would always reach for hockey books when we would be allowed to select titles of our choice. In the early years, I remember books as La série du siècle (or Face-Off of the Century) by Terroux and Brodeur. Later, I remember a french comic book about the Canadiens called On a volé la Coupe Stanley (1975). I also remember reading the first book published on Guy Lafleur in 1976 by Yvon Pedneault. As an adult, thanks to the Internet, I was able to find these out-of-print titles and many more that are now part of my hockey book collection!
Stephen Laroche said…
For years, I have been trying to determine what the first hockey book I ever read was. I think it might have been a Brian McFarlane Annual from the mid-1970s, but it was possibly re-bound by my elementary school's library.

I remember bringing home Jean Beliveau's Strength Down Centre when I was young and got a Peter Puck book for my sixth birthday.

The ones I enjoyed the most, though, were the yearbooks done by Jim Proudfoot and the ones from Zander Hollander & Hal Bock. I have quite a few of them now, but I am still trying to track a few of them down.