CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006
A fan of hockey, Poulton has authored two books which focus largely on players and events in the National Hockey League. In Canadian Hockey Record Breakers, the focus is on the players, and Poulton organizes the book's content initially via the players' positions on the ice. Most of the entries range from one to five pages in length though the longest entry runs 18 pages. The opening chapter features five forwards: Joe “Phantom” Malone, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Geordie Howe, Darryl Sittler and Wayne Gretzky. Poulton next moves to four defencemen: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffee and Al Iafrate. Goalies are the last position to be considered, and Poulton principally focuses on two, Terry Sawchuk and Patrick Roy. The other two entries in this chapter consider which of three goalies actually faced the most shots in the NHL and the fact that Manon Rheaume, a goalie, was the first woman to play in an NHL game. The next two chapters depart from Poulton's earlier structure. The first looks at Canada on the international stage. Not surprisingly, this chapter opens with the 1972 Summit Series, but then switches to women's international hockey before profiling Hayley Wickenheiser. The second chapter, while its contents are interesting, really falls outside the book's purported scope. Called “Riots, Plagues and Other Odd Hockey Moments,” the chapter's contents include such things as the Richard Riot of 1955 and Billy Mosienko's scoring a hat trick in 21 seconds. Canadian Hockey Record Breakers concludes with seven tables that indicate the top 10 NHL players in the following categories: All-Time Number of Games Played, All-Time Points Leaders, All-Time Goal Leaders, All-Time Assists Leaders, All-Time Goaltender Win Leaders, All-Time Shutout Leaders and All-Time Penalty Leaders.
Greatest Moments in Canadian Hockey is divided into four sections with the first, “Greatest Team Moments,” reviewing eight memorable moments in NHL history, including the Toronto Maple Leafs' comeback in 1942 when, down three games to none in the Stanley Cup finals, the Leafs responded by winning four straight games. “Greatest Individual Moments” recalls a dozen individual exploits, among them Rocket Richard's scoring 50 goals in 50 games, Darryl Sittler's recording 10 points in a single game, and Jacques Plante's introducing the goalie mask. Canadian hockey moves to the world stage in the “Greatest Moments in International Hockey” which naturally includes the 1972 Summit Series as well as the 1987 Canada Cup and the 2002 Winter Olympics. This chapter also addresses the Canadian women's teams in international play. Oddly, this chapter includes the gold medal win by the United States at the 1980 Olympics. The final chapter, “The Weird, Wild and Weary Moments in Hockey” appears out of place, given the book's title. Among its half dozen entries are the death of Howie Morenz and Gretzky's being traded to Los Angeles. Like the previous book, the entries in Greatest Moments in Canadian Hockey are quite short, with most of them being only a few pages long.
Readers who encounter both of Poulton's books will experience a certain amount of deja vue as a number of items, while differently written, are common to both books. Among these are the 1955 Richard Riot, Mosienko's speedy hat trick and Sittler's 10 point game. Though the books both have full colour hockey action photos on their covers, that is the extent of illustrations, with the exception of a black and white photo on the cover of Canadian Hockey Record Breakers. While most readably written, the pair of books will appeal much more to the hardcore NHL fan who is interested in the history of the game as very little of the books' contents addresses the present-day NHL.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.