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Tales from the Ice: Hockey Stories

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Tales from the Ice: Hockey Stories

hockey stories

That October chill is finally in the air, and the NHL season is underway, which makes it a great time to read books about ice hockey. Not only does the sport make for a fascinating subject due to its extreme physicality and colorful characters, but it has also been in the center of even bigger narratives about issues like Cold War politics and gender equality. Here are some noteworthy books on ice hockey that you can check out using your Livingston Library card. (Descriptions provided by the publishers)

freedom to win

Freedom to Win: A Cold War Story of the Courageous Hockey Team That Fought the Soviets For the Soul of Its People– and Olympic Gold by Ethan Schiener

At the height of the Cold War, a group of small-town men led their Czechoslovakian hockey team against the powerful Soviet team. At the same time, they inspired their nation’s resistance to a Soviet invasion, finding a way to fight back against the authoritarian forces seeking to crush their society. At the heart of this story is the Holík family, who loved hockey and desired freedom.

Dare To Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting For Equity by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson

Twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando started playing ice hockey with their four older brothers and their friends on a frozen pond next to their home in North Dakota. No girls hockey teams, no problem–they just played on boys teams. They went on to win six World Championships and played in three Olympics, winning two silver medals and ultimately a gold medal in South Korea in 2018 for the USA Women’s National Team. They did not allow roadblocks and discrimination deter them from taking on their governing body–USA Hockey–threatening to boycott the 2017 World Championships and jeopardizing their ability to compete in the 2018 Olympics unless their gender equity issues were addressed. The success of Monique, Jocelyne, and their team thrust them into the center of the struggle for gender equity, for women in hockey and in sports in general, as well as in society at large. In Dare to Make History, the Lamoureux twins chronicle their journey to the pinnacle of their sport, their efforts along with almost 150 other hockey players to start a new professional women’s hockey league, their training to come back and make another national team after giving birth, their tireless efforts to advance the interests of disadvantaged communities in closing the digital divide, and their ongoing contributions as role models championing the dreams of future generations of girls in sports, education, and the workplace.

The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey

Plagued by the Iran hostage crisis, persistent economic woes, and the ongoing Cold War, the United States battled a pervasive sense of gloom in 1980. And then came the Olympics. Traditionally a playground for the Russian hockey juggernaut and its ever-growing collection of gold medals, an Olympic ice rink seemed an unlikely setting for a Cold War upset. The Russians were experienced professional champions, state-reared and state-supported. The Americans were mostly college kids who had their majors and their stipends and their dreams, a squad that coach Herb Brooks had molded into a team in six months. It was men vs. boys, champions vs. amateurs, communism vs. capitalism. Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event in The Boys of Winter, crafting an intimate look at the team and giving readers an ice-level view of the boys who captivated a country.

A Team of Their Own: How An International Sisterhood Made Olympic History by Seth Berkman

Two weeks before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea’s women’s hockey team was forced into a predicament that no president, ambassador or general had been able to resolve in the sixty-five years since the end of the Korean War. Against all odds, the group of young women were able to bring North and South Korea closer than ever before. The team was built for this moment. They had been brought together from across the globe and from a wide variety of backgrounds—concert pianist, actress, high school student, convenience store worker—to make history. Now the special kinship they had developed would guide them through the biggest challenge of their careers. Suddenly thrust into an international spotlight, they showed the powerful meaning of what a unified Korea could resemble. In A Team of Their Own, Seth Berkman goes behind the scenes to tell the story of these young women as they became a team amid immense political pressure and personal turmoil, and ultimately gained worldwide acceptance on a journey that encapsulates the truest meanings of sport and family.

Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series by Gary J. Smith

The incredible story of an unlikely political stage–the hockey rink–where a Cold War, and the threat of nuclear annihilation, is no less important than a power play in the final minute. Discover a diplomacy mission like no other: caught between capitalism and communism, Canada and the Soviet Union, young Canadian diplomat Gary J. Smith must navigate the rink, melting the ice between two nations skating a dangerous path. Tasked with finding common ground and building friendships between the world’s two largest countries and arctic neighbours, a young Canadian diplomat finds himself on his first overseas assignment in Moscow, the Soviet capital.

mr hockey

Mr. Hockey: My Story by Gordie Howe

A personal account by the hockey Hall of Famer traces his Depression-era childhood, record-setting career and enduring relationships with his wife and children.

Golden Oldies: Stories of Hockey’s Heroes by Brian McFarlane

Golden Oldies explores the life of Sprague Cleghorn, a pioneer tough guy who went from the bright lights of Broadway to a boondock in the Ottawa Valley to stardom before and during the first years of the NHL. It follows the trail of Patsy Guzzo and his RCAF mates in 1948, ridiculed at home but rewarded with Olympic gold in Europe. And it chronicles the career-ending injuries to Ace Bailey, the last Leafs NHL scoring leader, the shameful treatment of the Canucks’ Mike Robitaille, and the horrific and near fatal injury suffered by Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk.

No One Wins Alone: A Memoir by Mark Messier

The legendary Hall of Fame hockey player and six-time Stanley Cup champion tells his inspiring story for the first time, sharing the lessons about leadership and teamwork that defined his career.

Pain and Progress: The First 12 Years of the New Jersey Devils by Stan and Shirley Fischler

“No pain, no gain” is a truism at the heart of all athletic endeavor, and it certainly applies to the first 12 years of the New Jersey Devils hockey team. Progress had been the keynote– sometimes slow, often difficult, but always in sight. The Devils’ story began once the Rockies crumbled in Colorado and Dr. John J. McMullen stepped in to buy the franchise and bring it to New Jersey. But difficulties loomed. It wasn’t going to be easy to be a new, young hockey team playing right across the Hudson from the New York Rangers. Nor did it help when a deceptively competitive opening season was followed by an enormous letdown in Year Two. Wayne Gretzky’s now infamous “Mickey Mouse” comment literally added insult to injury. With Stan and Shirley Fischler’s riveting narrative and dozens of colorful action photos, Pain and Progress brings the first 12 years of the Devils’ history to life.

We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders by Nicholas Hirshon

The NHL’s New York Islanders were struggling. After winning four straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980s, the Islanders had suffered an embarrassing sweep by their geographic rivals, the New York Rangers, in the first round of the 1994 playoffs. Hoping for a new start, the Islanders swapped out their distinctive logo, which featured the letters NY and a map of Long Island, for a cartoon fisherman wearing a rain slicker and gripping a hockey stick. The new logo immediately drew comparisons to the mascot for Gorton’s frozen seafood, and opposing fans taunted the team with chants of “We want fish sticks!” During a rebranding process that lasted three torturous seasons, the Islanders unveiled a new mascot, new uniforms, new players, a new coach, and a new owner that were supposed to signal a return to championship glory. Instead, the team and its fans endured a twenty-eight-month span more humiliating than what most franchises witness over twenty-eight years. The Islanders thought they had traded for a star player to inaugurate the fisherman era, but he initially refused to report and sulked until the general manager banished him. Fans beat up the new mascot in the stands. The new coach shoved and spit at players. The Islanders were sold to a supposed billionaire who promised to buy elite players; he turned out to be a con artist and was sent to prison. We Want Fish Sticks examines this era through period sources and interviews with the people who lived it.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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