A Hockey Summer Reading List
by Chris Kreuter, author of The Intergalactic Adventures of the Rainy River Bees
Summer: A time for hockey camps, Sauce Kits on the beach, and soft ice at beer league games. Anything to keep getting our fix of hockey during the long wait for the next NHL season. As a hockey player and an author, I’m using this guest spot to recommend some awesome hockey stories to carry you through.
Check Please! By Ngozi Ukazu
I came across this amazing webcomic a few months back. Three hours later I’d caught up on the first three seasons of Ngozi’s addicting story. Ngozi describes her story like this:
Eric Bittle—former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. And it’s basically nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South. For one?
It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best 4 years of your life.
From the start, I thought it was headed towards a darker story that took a hard look at LGBT issues in sports. But here’s the thing: This story is so positive, heartwarming, and fun! It affirms so many of the amazing things a hockey team can be, both on and off the ice. It’s a wonderfully told, beautifully drawn story that I consider required reading for any hockey fan.
Recommended for: Anyone in high school or older. I definitely don’t think its suitable for younger kids due to language and romantic themes.
Hockey Addicts Guide New York City By Evan Gubernick
Summer’s also a time to travel! I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book as a gift a few weeks ago, I’ve been loving the care, depth, and research that went into this book. Even though I called New York City home for a decade, even I didn’t know just how much hockey I was missing throughout the Big Apple.
Hockey is a great way to meet awesome people, and this book not only gives you places to get in a skate: It gives you some awesome post-game recommendations to turn those meetings into friendships. On top of all that, the book does a great job of tying in New York hockey lore and its personalities.
Recommended for: Everyone planning a trip to the New York region. And this is a must-have for anyone living there!
Ice Time: A Tale of Fathers, Sons, and Hometown Heroes by Jay Atkinson
Jay signed on as a volunteer assistant coach for the Methuen Rangers, his high-school alma mater that he’d played for twenty-five years earlier. Through his lens we follow this small-town team and community through the trials and tribulations of both a hockey season and on a deeper level, adolescence.
I grew up in a similar sort of small suburban town as Methuen, so those aspects of the book resonated with me. However, my high-school (at the time I went) didn’t have a hockey program. So Ice Time gave me a sense of what I missed out on, while delivering strong sentiments on the bond between parents and their kids.
Recommended for: Hockey moms & hockey dads.
Maurice Richard, Reluctant Hero By Chrys Goyens & Frank Orr
A few years ago I got a chance to catch a Montreal Canadiens game. During my visit to the Bell Center I got a copy of this gem. It captures the life & times of one of the greatest hockey players of all time. It also talks a lot about The Rocket’s position as a cultural icon.
Recommended for: Everyone interested in the history of hockey. The book would look great on any hockey fan’s coffee table.
Playing With Fire By Theo Fleury
As far as hockey biographies - few pack as emotional a punch as this one. He tells his story with raw honesty, forthrightness, and self-reflection. It’s a gritty look into the NHL life, and what fame can do to a man with lots of internal demons.
Admittedly the book has some issues, some parts get boring and the whole work is a bit disjointed – I think it’s excellent as a cautionary tale about how as a hockey community we can always do more to bring up those who are less fortunate, are victims of abuse, or who are in danger of being marginalized.
Recommended for: Adults who want to learn more about the darker side of a pro athlete.
Chris Kreuter has loved science fiction and hockey his entire life. When he’s not being an engineer, you’ll find him reading, writing books, designing board games, playing hockey, or cheering for his beloved St. Louis Blues. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats.
You can get your copy of the Intergalactic Adventures of the Rainy River Bees here.