Book Review: Hooked on Hockey

When Simon and Schuster asked me to review Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey, I laughed to myself.  Surely there are few people less qualified to review a book whose title is followed by “101 Stories about the Players Who Love the Game and the Families that Cheer Them On”.  For one thing, I may be a mommy blogger with two boys, but neither of them play hockey, nor are they particularly interested in hockey.  The NHL strike has not affected us one whit, and although I’m in a hockey city, I have not been to a Flames game since 1993.

Nonetheless, who am I to back down from a challenge?  In any event, I have a number of hockey mom friends; one of whom is going to receive this book the minute I am finished writing this review. 

I started reading this book with very low expectations; after all, I had never before read a Chicken Soup book as I assumed that they were filled with all sorts of smarmy stories.  There are quite a few smarmy stories in this book, notably in the “Dreams and Inspirations” and “Life Lessons”.  However, there were a number of well-written, entertaining stories as well.  I liken them to those kind of pleasant, light-hearted stories found in Reader’s Digests or similar publications that one may find oneself perusing in the doctor’s office.  Nothing life-changing, but warm and cozy to read.

Growing up in a rather blue-collar neighbourhood in Calgary in the 1980s, I knew very few boys who played organized hockey.  It was – and is – an expensive sport, and so most of the boys I grew up with played pickup games on the rough, outdoor rink behind our elementary school.  I would go to lace up my figure skates and there would inevitably be a game going on in which no safety equipment was utilized and the game would be over when the street lights came on, which is around 4:30 in the afternoon in the deep of winter.  The stories that most appealed to me, therefore, were the ones in the “Fresh Air and Ice” section; stories of kids just hanging out and playing, no adults required.  Being the mother of boys, I especially enjoyed the story “Rink of Dreams” where two brothers shoveled and flooded their own cul-de-sac for a makeshift rink, much to the angst of anyone driving in or out of said cul-de-sac. 

When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who liked to take me to hockey games.  The games themselves weren’t of much interest to me, but I did like the upbeat music that was played and I always wondered about the guy who played the organ at those games.  It seemed to me – a piano player – to be a fun gig.  “Welcome Back Clark” is the story of the organist for the Maple Leafs, and details some of his song choices, notably the theme to Welcome Back Cotter to celebrate the return of former Leafs captain Wendel Clark.  I have no idea who that is, but the story itself is entertaining.  Plus I had the added bonus of having that song stuck in my head for the rest of the night.  Follow the link and you too can have this experience.

Other entertaining stories include “Got Teeth” about hockey players and their collective lack of teeth, “The Cursed Jersey” about sports fans and their superstitions, “Golden Tickets” about the Vancouver 2010 Gold Medal Game (I thought my own husband was actually having a heart attack in the last minute before overtime, and so that game stands out in my mind), and “I Married a Zamboni” about a woman who became Kate Zamboni on her wedding day.  That would be a pretty cool last name, don’t you think?  What’s more calming than watching a Zamboni clean the ice?  Well, there are quite a few things, I guess, but Zambonis are pretty cool, even for a non-hockey fan like me.  Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey would make an excellent Christmas gift for a hockey mom or fan.

*******disclaimer: I received a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey from Simon and Schuster Canada.  All opinions are my own.


  1. Miss Elise says

    I LOVED Welcome Back Kotter! I did indeed follow the link and had myself a good laugh at Vinnie Babarino! Ah the memories…

  2. I remember reading Chicken Soup for the Soul. Great stories.

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