________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006


Ice Time: The Story of Hockey.

Michael McKinley.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2006.
80 pp., cloth, $24.99.
ISBN 0-88776-762-1.

Subject Heading:

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

**½ /4


It looked as if the Leafs might be the "Too-Far-Over-the-Hill Gang" when the Canadians easily won the first game 6-2. But then the Leafs came back in the second game when the old guy, Bower, shut out the Canadians 3-0. The third game was a goalies' battle, too. Montreal's young Rogie Vachon stopped 62 shots, and Bower stopped 54, before Bob Pulford won it for Toronto eight nail-biting minutes into the second overtime period.

Game four was played on the opening day of Expo '67, and bad luck struck the Leafs early when Bower injured his groin in the pre-game warm-up. So Terry Sawchuck went in net for the Leafs and had a bad game. After Sawchuck let six pucks get past him in a 6-2 Canadians' victory, a fan sent him a telegram asking, "How much did you get?"

Sawchuck was as sensitive as he was tough. He was deeply wounded by the fan's accusation that he would take a bribe. He came back in Game five with the kind of goaltending genius that had him a four-time Vezina winner, giving Toronto a 4-1 win over Montreal. The Over-the-Hill-Gang went home needing just one win to capture the prize.

Ice Time has 10 chapters. Four are about outstanding players of the game, including Montreal great, Rocket Richard. The others are about the history of the game and Canada's hockey record on the international stage. It is, however, a story, not just about the players, but also about many of the off-ice people who are just as essential to the game. Thus, we read about Foster Hewitt whose radio broadcasts were listened to across the country, equipment manager, Tommy Naylor, team owner Conn Smythe, and others. Some of these, including Hewitt, became just as famous as the players and rightly deserve their place in such a history.
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     The book goes back the beginning of ice hockey and is filled with many interesting and little-known facts. James Creighton, for example, one of the first organizers of hockey in Canada, played on a team with nine players. While that may seem strange to today's followers of the game, even stranger is the fact that no substitutes were allowed on teams in the 1870s. Apart from a short half-time break, the nine men played the whole sixty minutes.

     Ice Time begins with a game played in Montreal's Victoria Skating Rink in 1875. This was the first game of ever played indoors in Canada. The book ends with Canada's gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City when Canada was "once again on top of the hockey world." It is a pity that the 2006 Winter Olympics is not mentioned, when the Canadian team was anything but on top of the hockey world. The book's conclusion leaves a false impression because Canadian fans have known for some time that their players are very far from being the best in the world.

     Ice Time is richly illustrated throughout both with coloured and black and white photographs. These are excellent, both decorative and functional, and enhance the book's value. In addition, there is an index which readers will find useful.

     Author McKinley, who spends his time as a journalist, filmmaker, and screenwriter, has written two previous books, including The Magnificent One: The Mario Lemieux Story. He has also written articles for various newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian and Sports Illustrated. His style is suitable for the intended audience and should appeal to many young readers. His book will be useful as recreational reading.


A retired college teacher, Thomas F. Chambers lives in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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