Puck Junk’s 2018 Holiday Book Guide

Do you want to give a book to your favorite hockey fan this holiday season? Then consider any of these fine books listed here. I have personally read each and every one, and highly recommend all of them. 

History — with Big Pictures!

Saving Face: The Art and History of The Goalie Mask
by Jim Hynes and Gary Smith
This is not just a big book with pretty pictures. “Saving Face” gives a comprehensive history of goalie masks, reaching as far back as the pre-NHL days. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $29.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena
by Howard Schubert
“Architecture on Ice” starts with a history of ice skating, then how indoor rinks changed to meet the growing demand for hockey. All the popular “old barns” and new rinks are detailed in this book. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $49.99 – Get it at Amazon for less.

A Century of NHL Memories: Rare Photos from the Hockey Hall of Fame
by Phil Pritchard with Jim Hynes. Foreword by Lanny McDonald.
The Hockey Hall of Fame brings you the best photos from its archives. Many never-before published photos are here, as well as some familiar favorites. 
Rating: 3.5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $49.99 – Buy it online here.

Funny Hockey Autobiographies

Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote 
by Terry Ryan
The former Montreal Canadiens first-round pick gives a hilarious account of his slow and steady fall from NHL prospect to minor-league grinder. 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

The Third-Best Hull 
by Dennis Hull & Robert Thompson
Dennis — Bobby’s younger brother and Brett’s uncle — takes us through his hockey career, including the 1972 summit series, as well as his life after hockey as a successful public speaker. He tells some pretty funny stories about his time in the NHL, his teammates and his opponents. 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95  – Get it at Amazon for less.

Odd Man Rush: A Harvard Kid’s Hockey Odyssey from Central Park to Somewhere in Sweden–with Stops Along the Way
by Bill Keenan
The story of a New York kid who dreams of playing pro hockey, even if he has to go to the ends of the earth to do it. Keenan is the proverbial stranger in a strange land, navigating the craziness of European minor league hockey. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $24.95  – Get it at Amazon for less.

Tough Guy Autobiographies 

A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut
by John Scott and Brian Cazeneuve
Former NHLer John Scott takes us through his journey on how he went from a fourth-line enforcer to All-Star MVP.
Rating: 4 / 5 – Full review here
Price: $26.99 U.S. /  $32.99 CDN . – Get it at Amazon for less. 

Goon: Memoir of a Minor League Hockey Enforcer, 2nd Edition
by Doug Smith with Adam Frattasio
The unlikely story of a former amateur boxer who became a minor-league hockey enforcer — which in turn became the basis of the 2012 movie by the same name. “Goon, 2nd Edition” features all-new material, including Smith’s involvement with the two Goon movies and working as a fight coach for future NHL enforcers. 
Rating: 5 /5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

Black Ice: The Val James Story
by Valmore James and John Gallagher
Val James, a feared minor-league tough guy, was the first African American to play in the NHL, but that’s just a small part of his fascinating story. 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $24.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

For Those with Short Attention Spans

The Goaltenders’ Union: Hockey’s Greatest Puckstoppers, Acrobats & Flakes by Greg Oliver and Richard Kamchen
Profiles of 62 current or former goaltenders, including some superstars, but mainly of the fan favorites who toiled night-in and night-out. 
Rating: 4 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

One Night Only: Conversations with the NHL’s One-Game Wonders
by Ken Reid
What’s it like to play one — only one — game in the NHL? Does it come with a sense of accomplishment, or regret that it didn’t last longer? Reid talks with 40 players who are a part of this exclusive and infamous club. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $17.95 U.S. /  $19.95 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less. 

Golden Oldies (cover)

Golden Oldies: Stories of Hockey’s Heroes
by Brian McFarlane
Twenty-two short stories, mainly in the subjects’ own words — from the man who was the first to pull a goalie in a game, to a 1970s-era player who outsmarted every GM he played for. All had great stories to tell, and even well-read hockey fans will learn a lot from this book. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

For the Intellectual Hockey Fan

Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey by Ken Dryden
Author Dryden seamlessly interweaves the tragic biography of former NHL defenseman Steve Montador with a history of violence in hockey and the effects that concussions have on the mind and body. Perhaps the most important hockey book written in the past 25 years. 
Rating: 5 /5 – Full review here.
Price: $27.95 USD / $32.00 CDN – Get it at Amazon for less.

Autobiographies: 1970s & 1980s Players

Bernie Federko: My Blues Note
by Bernie Federko and Jeremy Rutherford
The long-overdue autobiography of the former St. Louis Blues icon, current Blues color commentator and honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Full review here
Price: $26.95 U.S./ $35.95 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less. 

Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey’s Forgotten 60-Goal Man by Dennis Maruk and Ken Reid
A quick, enjoyable read about a great hockey player who was stuck on terrible teams for most of his career. 
Rating: 4 / 5 – Full review here
Price: $25.95 U.S./ $29.95 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less. 

Bleeding Blue: Giving My All for the Game
by Wendel Clark and Jim Lang
Arguably, no Maple Leaf has bled, endured or suffered more than Wendel Clark, whose career was defined by his physical play and willingness to fight — and marred by constant injuries. 
Rating: 4 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $24.99 U.S. /  $32.99 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less. 

Gratoony the Loony: The Wild, Unpredictable Life of Gilles Gratton
by Gilles Gratton and Greg Oliver
The tell-all by one of hockey’s most colorful characters, better known for his awesome goalie mask and strange behavior than his ability to stop pucks. Gratton had all the talent in the world; the only problem was that he hated playing hockey. 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Full review here
Price: $16.95 U.S./ $19.95 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less.

For Hockey Card Lovers

Hockey Card Stories: True Tales from 59 of Your Favorite Players
by Ken Reid
What do retired hockey players think of their own hockey cards? A must-have for those that love hockey cards, especially from the 1970s and 1980s.
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $19.95 – Get it at Amazon for less.

Hockey Card Stories 2: 59 More True Tales from Your Favourite Players 
by Ken Reid
This book picks up where the first one left off, with many of the cards featured from hockey collecting’s “boom years” of the early 1990s. 
Rating: 5 / 5 – Full review here.
Price: $16.95 U.S./ $19.95 CDN. – Get it at Amazon for less.

The Parkies Hockey Card Story - book cover

The Parkies Hockey Card Story
by Richard Scott
The history of the company that introduced hockey cards in the modern era, with interesting facts and details about every set from 1951-52 to 1963-64. 
Rating: 3.5 / 5 – Full review here.
Where to Buy: Blurb (color version) or Amazon (black and white version)

The O-Pee-Chee Hockey Card Story
by Richard Scott
The history of the long-gone company that gave hockey fans many long-lasting memories. Packed with pictures and details, with a focus on O-Pee-Chee cards from the 1930s to the early 1990s. 
Rating: 4 / 5 – Full review here
Where to Buy: Sold exclusively through Amazon.

If you end up getting one of these books, let me know if you — or the person you give it to — enjoy it as much as I did. ■

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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