“If the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway of the 1880s helped to link people of this land with a steel thread, then hockey has done likewise with its stick and its puck,” wrote Dave Stubbs in his first book entitled Our Game: The History of Hockey in Canada.
Stubbs sat at Chapters bookstore on Sept. 16 to sign his latest endeavour and proceeded to ask me if my father or I were Canadiens fans. With Elmer Lach, a Hockey Hall of Famer and member of the Canadiens’ Punch Line, sitting at his side placing his John Hancock alongside his p. 23 picture, I was a little embarrassed to respond “No, we’re not.” The lady beside me told me I should of just lied, but I replied to Stubbs that as a journalist I had to be honest.
He agreed knowing firsthand as an award-winning sports writer and columnist the journalism code of conduct. Stubbs currently writes for the Montreal Gazette and has contributed to such works as Remembering Guy Lafleur and Canadiens Legends: Montreal’s Hockey Heroes (Raincoast, 2004).
The book is physically attractive with illustrations by Neal Portney and vintage and recent photos of Canada’s hockey superstars and historical on and off ice figures who made hockey what it is today. Portney himself, a Massachusetts native, is an athlete which seems to inspire his depictions of the game.
The book looks at Canada’s favourite pastime over the past three centuries. It explores the geography of the sport, from where it started to how it grew and still grows to this day. The book is written chronologically, and it mentions such characters as Red Storey and “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe, and it fills us in on women in the sport. It is extremely informative and interactive, with quizzes for the reader and even includes a glossary. It is well researched and includes little known facts that even the most hardcore fans may be unaware of.
It is visually stunning and a great read overall. Lobster Press is the book’s publisher and states that it is a children’s book. However, I believe that any Canadian hockey buff would enjoy it. It’s not just about the NHL, or the Canadiens, but instead Stubbs truly details the Canadian perspective of hockey.
Stubbs will hold readings Oct. 21 at Oink Oink on Greene Ave. and Nov. 12 at the Pointe-Claire Public Library.