While the NHL and Players Association haven’t been productive in the last hundred or so days, I took it upon myself to do a little hockey self improvement with all the free time I’ve been given.
I am still prone to trolling my twitter feed for the latest “update” on the CBA circus, but I’ve been reading a lot more than just rehashed articles covering everything that isn’t happening behind the closed doors of negotiations between the two sides.
THE LOCKOUT READING LIST:
First up was Net Worth: Exploding the Myths of Pro Hockey. Currently out of print, this book was published the year after I was born, but is a great read, especially given the current situation. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but so far it has been an eye opener. More of a history lesson than anything, this book takes you back to the early days of the NHL and depicts how the sport and its players have been manipulated by owner agendas and unfair contracts. Page turner.
Next up, and my primary time consumer, is HOCKEY: Plays and Strategies. Yep, it’s a drill book. Maybe two hundred pages of play diagrams isn’t your thing, in which case I wouldn’t recommend this book, but as someone who never actually got to play hockey, I’ve really enjoyed breaking down every move on the ice and understanding the sport from more of a coaches perspective. Ryan Walter and Mike Johnston do a fantastic job explaining the roles of each position with every play and make it easy for coaches and players (and fans!) to grasp the core concepts. I liked it so much I even went out and got myself a coaches play board so I could draw out the drills! Nerd Alert.
This next book is on deck, and it promises to be a good one. The Game by Ken Dryden. It says right up top: “The Best Hockey Book Ever Written,” so it better not disappoint. Looking forward to this one, though it would be nice if I could move it off my Lockout Reading List and just onto my regular reading list.
The point to all of this? Keeping busy, and staying interested. The NHL has unfortunately made it all to easy for even seasoned fans to become jaded, this being the third work stoppage in the past twenty years, and more than likely the added presence of 24/7 media updates allowing fan hopes to rise and fall with every passing formal negotiation that yield… well, nothing, aren’t helping either. I’ve stayed pretty invested, but it’s not easy. Being hockey deprived is hard enough during the off season, knowing half the season is in the can and the rest is on the line doesn’t help the situation.
Stay strong hockey fans!