Anyone else’s fingers and toes hurt from being crossed so long?
I’m not a doctor, expert or someone who’s opinion matters much, but I get the sense the next two weeks are going to determine whether the MJHL returns or not.
Here’s hoping we can get back to the rinks, the players can get back onto the ice and fans can go back to cheering for their teams.
As we continue to look for things to pass the time (the NHL’s all Canadian division sure is helping!), I’ve come up with some great reading options!
Believe it or not, I have quite the wide-ranging taste in literature. From hockey to baseball to wrestling. Even one or two that are not about sports!
Bet you didn’t think I’d be such a book worm. But I am, so here’s 12 books you should look into if you’re tv’d out.
1 – Burkes Law, written by Brian Burke with Stephen Brunt
Currently into this book and already being a big fan of Brian Burke, it just takes it to a whole new level. I love learning about behind the scenes things and this book really takes you into the war room of an NHL GM, told in the exact way you’d hope. Brian Burke style.
Burke always says, “I was a GM for 5 teams. No one else has ever done that. It’s not a record you want”. And while it’s not a record that most dream about, it sure does lead to some very interesting stories.
2 – Yankee Years, written by Joe Torre and Jon Verducci
The New York Yankees were the first real dynasty I remember. Going from a scrappy, hardworking team to the “Evil Empire”, this is a fascinating journey told by one of the greatest managers in sports. It’s not fluff, it’s a real, in-depth look at what it took to build the Yankees and even more so, what it took to keep them on top, at all costs.
3 – Bret Hart: My Real Life In The Cartoon World Of Wresting , written by Bret Hart
Who didn’t love Bret Hart? He was the first true Canadian hero I can remember. Yes, I also thought wresting was real. To the “Hitman”, it was real too.
This is a book that is brutally and at times, painfully honest. It tears down not just the curtain of wrestling but of a man that millions looked up too. It makes him more human and relatable. In the end, more respected.
He lives up to his billing, “The Best There Is, The Best There Was And The Best There Ever Will Be”.
Getting old Stampede Wrestling stories and Andrea The Giant tales are classic.
4 – I’d Trade Him Again, written by Terry McConnell & J’Lyn Nye with Peter Pocklington
I stumbled across this book at a local charity book sale and THANK GOODNESS because it’s quickly become one of my favorite books.
Learning more about “Peter Puck” is neat but the details of the Wayne Gretzky trade, that’s where it’s really at. We’ve all seen documentaries and heard stories but there’s a few gems in here that even hardcore hockey fans maybe don’t know.
Peter’s life was amazing. He did good things; he did some not so good things. Love him or hate him, you’ll see him in a whole new light after reading this. Get it. You won’t be disappointed.
5 – Quinn, written by Dan Robson
When I think of Pat Quinn, I think of the man standing behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench with two black, black eyes.
He was an intimidating figure. A legendary presence. He also had a soft side and loved the game of hockey. Much like time does, this humanizes him to the point you respect him so much more.
6 – Francona, written by Terry Francona and Dan Shulman
In a similar fashion to “The Yankee Years”, this book takes us behind the scenes of the Boston Red Sox through the wonderful eyes of Tito.
I love learning about how teams are built and then learning why for whatever reason they were destroyed. Coaches and managers know what it’s like but for us fans, we rarely get a true understanding of the daily grind, the pressure, the expectation and at times the sheer luck it takes to win.
7 – Game Misconduct, written by Russ Conway
Ring any bells? For some hockey fans, it brings up a painful side of the game many wishes would just be forgotten. I first got my hands on this book from the Dauphin public library and despite hating numbers (I’m the worst at math. Numbers are hard), this book explains the crookedness of Eagleson in a way that’s easy to understand.
He’s a thief. He robbed from many people, including Bobby Orr.
He got away with it for so long and maybe always would have. The game changed because of Eagleson, both in good ways and some very, very bad.
8 – Phil Esposito: Thunder and Lightning, written by Phil Esposito and Peter Golenbock
My all-time favorite player: Phil Esposito. Man, what a great way to learn about the ’72 Summit Series, his trade from Chicago to Boston then Boston to the Rangers and so many hilarious stories in-between.
Did you know he founded the Tampa Bay Lightning then got screwed over? He’ll tell you all about it in typical “Espo” fashion.
You will never guess what he was doing the morning of the first game of the Summit Series. Oh… and he and Cashman… well, get the book and find out what they did or didn’t do.
9 – Faithful, written by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King
This is a unique one because it’s written journal style by two men who loved the Boston Red Sox.
Yes, Stephen King is THAT Stephen King. The King of Horror himself is a diehard Sox fan and the year they finally broke the curse, he keeps a journal detailing his thoughts on games and situations around the team.
It’s something sports fans often think and wish they wrote down, well these guys did and it’s very much amazing.
10 – Steve Dangle: This Team Is Ruining My Life (And I Love Them), written by Steve Dangle
From mom and dad’s house to Youtuber to guy you see on Sportsnet plugging in a light and yelling “It’s ON”, Steve Dangle is as inspiring as he is loud.
He started by doing video’s titled Leafs Fan Reaction and turned his tiny YouTube channel into one heck of a career. While he is a diehard (and loud) Leafs fan, his story is something that many can inspire too, not just in hockey but in life.
If you’re passionate and you work hard and yell (okay, maybe don’t yell like HE yell’s), your dreams can come true.
11 – Blood Feud, Detroit Red Wings vs Colorado Avalanche: The inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry written by Adrian Dater
Not going to lie, I bought this book for a friend and I never gave it to him.
I skimmed it at first and liked it so much, I ended up getting him something totally different and kept it for myself.
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the earliest dynasties I remember is the Yankees but one of the rivalries I remember is the Avs and the Wings.
My goodness, did they hate each other. This book has so much detail to it. How it built layer upon layer for months and years.
There may never be another battle like these two teams and I’m sure the NHL is perhaps happy about that.
12 – Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, written by Major Dick Winters.
I love this book and I had to include it for anyone who may of heard of Band of Brothers or simply wants to read the story of a true War Hero.
It was a very different time back then and Major Dick Winters was a hero among heroes. He shares stories in his words, his firsthand accounts of battles we’ve only read about or seen on tv.
He shares the stories of men whom history may have overlooked, and he provides inspiration for a generation going forward.
If there’s one book on this list I recommend you get, it’s this one.