Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Third String Goalie Holiday Shopping Guide - Hockey Books

If you are looking for a holiday gift for the hockey fan in on your list, there are any number of terrific hockey books out there and today we have a number of recommendations to share.

This year's hockey books are highlighted by two very different books, both of which are must-haves for readers who enjoy Third String Goalie.

First, from the Hockey Hall of Fame, is the Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Jerseys. Inspired by The Hockey News Greatest Jerseys of All Time special edition magazine of 2009, the Hall of Fame takes the concept a step further into hardcover book form. The 192 page book features five different sections, including NHL Greats, Around the Globe, All-Stars, Champions each featuring a full page photo of a standout jersey from the Hall of Fame's collection beautifully photographed complimented by an accompanying page with the story of the player who wore it (not unlike the format of the website you happen to be reading!) and a miscellaneous section that is a photo gallery of interesting and off-beat jerseys too good not to picture.

To give you an idea of the variety of jerseys in the book, the "NHL Greats" section is by no means limited to only NHL jerseys, as there are also jerseys from high school, youth, foreign club, All-Star and WHA teams as well as referee's jerseys.

Simply put, if you like this website, this book will be an instant cornerstone of your hockey library.

 HHOF Book of Jerseys, HHOF Book of Jerseys

The second book we need to highlight is "Breakaway: From Behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL--The Untold Story of Hockey's Great Escapes", which documents the Czechoslovakian and Soviet players who risked their careers and even their lives to pursue personal freedom and wealth in North America with little more than a suitcase and the likelihood of never seeing their families again.

Breakaway, Breakaway

Here is an interview with Breakaway author Tai Pinchevsky on MPR radio.

Keeping in somewhat the same vein, one of the things we enjoy the most is the way hockey and culture differs throughout the world. Several books that come to mind are "King of Russia", the story of Dave King, the first Canadian to coach a Russian hockey club team. Along that same line is "From Behind the Red Line", Tod Harjte's fascinating story as the first North American player in Russia, which occurred just as the Soviet Union had dissolved. Laura Sullivan's "Away Games" takes on a real relevance with the current state of affairs with the NHL labor situations as she takes a trip across Europe during the previous NHL lockout of 2004-05, visiting seven countries to document the experiences of NHL players overseas, just as many are doing right now.


Another topic of interest to us is the early history of hockey, of which there are many choices. "Putting a Roof on Winter" is an excellent chronicle of hockey's rise from the beginning, while "Deceptions and Doublecross: How the NHL Conquered Hockey" tells the story of the formation of the world's most important league in 1917.

There are certainly are certainly biographies too numerous to mention, but some of the most notable are "Gordie - A Hockey Legend", "Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey", the recent "Eddie Shore and that Old Time Hockey". Other players are Patrick RoyJean BeliveauBob Probert, the always entertaining Phil EspositoMark Messier and of course Bobby Orr.


There have even been entire books written about single games. "When the Lights Went Out" details the infamous brawl between Canada and the Soviet Union at the World Junior Championships in 1987. "The Greatest Game" documents the memorable contest between the Montreal Canadiens and the Soviet Red Army on New Year's Eve in 1975.

The 1980 US Olympic hockey team's "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet Union at Lake Placid has spawned a number of titles, the best of which are "The Boys of Winter" documents the how the team came together and won, and "Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Hockey Mastermind" is a truly inside look into the story of Brooks written by his personal friend and newspaper reporter John Gilbert. Along the same lines, but lesser known, is "Striking Silver", the story of the 1972 US Olympic Team, who placed a stunning second in Sapporo, Japan.


For Canadian readers, the equivalent to the "Miracle on Ice" has to be the 1972 Summit Series, the memorable eight game series that captivated a nation as it played out, cumulating with Paul Henderon's iconic goal in Game 8. "Cold War" recounts the events of the series, as does "Face-off at the Summit", goaltender Ken Dryden's diary of his participation in the series. New arrivals on the same topic are "1972: The Summit Series, Canada vs USSR" and "Team Canada 1972, the Official 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Summit Series", which offer fresh and detailed looks back at the events of the ground breaking meeting between the Canadian "professionals" and the mysterious Soviet "robots" from behind the Iron Curtain who played the game in a way never seen before.


Speaking of Ken Dryden, he has also authored other hockey books, including the seminal "The Game" and it's follow up, "Home Game".

There are of course books dedicated to individual clubs, including the Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres as well as the rich histories of the Original 6 clubs.



There's also the not-so-rich-history of the Oakland/California Seals/Golden Seals, a team who actually had more names and owners than playoff appearances!

The World Hockey Association has also spawned some books to chronicle the outrageous tales and legendary characters of the short-lived rival to the NHL. Probably best known is "The Rebel League". "Red, White & Blues" documents Wayne Gretzky's first professional club, the Indianapolis Racers. For those interested in statistics, "The World Hockey Association Fact Book" is a must have for WHA fans.


The Hockey Hall of Fame has also published a number of fine books, including the beautifully photographed "Hockey Hall of Fame Legends", "Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies", "Official Guide to Players in the Hockey Hall of Fame", "Hockey Hall of Fame MVP Trophies and Winners" and the "Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures" book.


There are finally the books that cover the history of hockey and the NHL. Our recommended favorites in that category include "Hockey": A People's History" about what the game means to Canada, "The Official Illustrated NHL History" and the newly released "Sports Illustrated - The Hockey Book". Fans of international hockey will want to pick up "World of Hockey", published on the occasion of the International Ice Hockey Federation's 100th anniversary. "Lord Stanley's Cup" documents the history of hockey's most sought after trophy. Looking for one book that simply has everything? "Total Hockey" is just that. At six pounds, if it's not in Total Hockey, it's not worth knowing.


In all honesty, we've only just scratched the surface of all the numerous hockey books available, but these are some of our favorites for you to consider for the hockey fan on your gift list.

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