They say never judge a book by it's cover. But that's exactly what I'm going to do. Here's my favorite hockey book cover of all time:
In 2000, not long after his death, a coffee table book about Rocket Richard debuted. Chris Goyens and Frank Orr teamed up with Team Power Publishing to give use Maurice Richard: Reluctant Hero.
At first I dismissed the book. Folks, that was a big mistake.
At the time the book market was flooded with Rocket Richard material. I recall looking at this coffee table book and scoffing at the initial $50. Coffee table books, at least in the hockey genre, tend to be regurgitated photography with very little content. Since it was shrink-wrapped I put the book back on the shelf and probably grabbed a couple of other books for my $50, with the idea maybe I'd check this book out of the library one day.
Boy oh boy was I ever wrong to dismiss this book so early. I finally got a hold of a copy, and I have to say that this may very well be the best book on Maurice Richard that I have ever seen.
It is a coffee table book, so photos are front and center. But there are so many images in here I have never seen, from both on and off the ice. The photos really give a glimpse into the Rocket's life on the ice, but more importantly off the ice including both in the dressing room and with his family.
The true value of this book is the written content. It is a bit of a patch job of selected stories an events as opposed to a perfectly fluent piece of literature, but the stories are greatly insightful and easy to retain. You really can flip open a page or two and read just a bit, reminisce at the photos, and feel that you have just experienced a piece of hockey history.
This book is absolutely beautiful and a must own for any Montreal Canadiens or hockey history buff!