Skip to main content

Father Bauer and The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey

Look at what arrived in the mail today:


I always find it odd when hockey books are released in the spring rather than the traditional beginning of the season. But could author Greg Oliver and publisher ECW Press have had better timing? The same week that we learned that a bunch of no-names will likely represent Canada at the 2018 Olympic hockey tournament comes a book about the ultimate bunch of Canadian Olympic hockey no-names and their legendary leader, Father David Bauer.

Father Bauer is one of the most unique trailblazers in the history of hockey, and is recognized as such as a rare non-NHL builder in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bauer led the legendary St. Michael's Majors hockey program for many years before fulfilling his dream of establishing a true Canadian national team that would send an entire season together representing the nation in international tourneys including the Olympics and World Championships.

His story is interesting in that his beliefs in how hockey should be played and how his players would be groomed - not only as hockey players but more importantly as whole people - was visionary and critically important.

I just got the book and have not had a chance to delve into it. But the praise for the book on the back cover is about as impressive as it gets:

“Father Bauer and the Great Experiment fills an important gap in the history of hockey as it is today played. Greg Oliver has done a masterful research job in showing how Father Bauer was far ahead of his time in the evolution on what is, today, a truly international game. Hockey around the world ― Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, everywhere ― is deeply indebted to this fascinating Canadian character.” ― Roy MacGregor, bestselling author of Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey, and Wayne Gretzky’s Ghost

“While David Bauer’s ‘great experiment’ to create a men’s national hockey ‘team-in-being’ focused on excellence, education, and values may have seemed quixotic, especially in a sport dominated by the NHL, his vision set the aspiration for the Canadian sport system to this day. It’s important that Canadians know his story. Greg Oliver’s well-researched biography ably captures the man, his mission, his players and his times.” ― Bruce Kidd, author of The Death of Hockey, vice-president and principal, University of Toronto Scarborough

“It’s the labour and passion behind each word that makes Father Bauer and the Great Experiment such an excellent read. The ice beneath Bauer’s skates was rough at times, but his vision was solid. This is an amazing history of where our national game was and how it has progressed. A tap of the stick to Greg Oliver for his amazing efforts.” ― Jiggs McDonald, broadcaster and 1990 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

As a student of international hockey I can not tell you how excited I am to see this book arrive with very favorable first impressions. I do think this book immediately gets put to the top of my long reading list.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M