FanPost

Jeff Marek's Summer Reading List

[Ed. note: this FanPost originally ran on July 13, 2012]


The Marek vs Wyhshynski season wrapup podcast was yesterday (I have to once again plug that show, it's really some of the best hockey radio out there, you should give it a listen on the regular if you don't already) and most of the episode was just answering email questions. Jeff Marek was asked to provide a summer reading list for a listener, and came up with the following list. I'm also going to include a few of his thoughts on each, paraphrased. Note that these are his thoughts, not mine, as the entire purpose of this exercise is to figure out what I'm going to be reading between now and whenever the season starts as all of these books are new to me.

Honorable Mentions:

Ken Dryden - The Game
Everyone's default #1 hockey book.

Lloyd Percival - The Hockey Handbook
One of the first books to really go in depth into hockey strategy/theory/coaching. Also apparently the basis for the Soviet hockey program under Anatoli Tarasov.

Dick Beddoes - Pal Hal: A Biography of Harold Ballard

Scott Morrison - By the Numbers
Fascinating book ranking players by numbers, with stories about why players pick the numbers they wear.

George Plimpton - Open Net
Plimpton is a journalist who goes to Bruins training camp and plays goalie. It's apparently a fascinating look at the game from an outsider's point of view.

Bruce Dowbiggin - Money Players
Great book that illustrates the relationships between GMs, agents, and players.

Ray Scapinello - Between the Lines
Former linesman who officiated 2500 regular season games and 20 cup final series over 33 years tells some awesome stories.

And the top 5:

5. Ed Willes - The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association
Marek says that even if you don't care about the WHA, this is a great book. Good laughs and great stories. Wysh says the cover should say, "If you enjoyed Slapshot, you'll love The Rebel League!"

4. Morey Holzman and Joseph Nieforth - Deceptions and Doublecross: How the NHL Conquered Hockey
For the geekier fan, explains the origins of the NHL when 5/6 NHA owners doublecrossed the Toronto Shamrocks to found the NHL. Marek's assertation is that in NHL history, more owners have gone to prison than players, and this book explains just some of the reasons why.

3. Dave Bidini - Tropic of Hockey
Apparently Bidini fell a bit out of love with hockey after the 1996 final, having become disillusioned with the development of the trap. He took a trip around the world to look for hockey in strange places in order to get his groove back, and the book is the result. The section about hockey in Transylvania is a highlight.

2. Russ Conway - Game Misconduct: Alan Eagleson and the Corruption of Hockey
Conway's work led directly to the downfall of former NHLPA Executive Director Alan Eagleson. (Note, this one's at the top of my list for the summer).

1. Kevin Shea - Barilko: Without a Trace
Fascinating story documenting the life, career, and disappearance of Bill Barilko. Barilko scored the OTGWG in game 7 of the 1951 final, which turned out to be his final game as he passed away the following offseason in a small plane crash with a friend.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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