CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 19. . . .January 19, 2016
The contents of Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators are representative of what can be found in the other 28 volumes in the “Inside the NHL” series. Because these two books are part of a series, understandably, they utilize a largely common organizational structure that consists of 12 facing page chapters whose contents focus specifically on the “target” NHL team. Both books have brief texts that are supported by numerous full-colour photographs.
The “Introduction” provides a brief overview of the team’s past while a text box provides the name of the arena in which the team plays, the NHL division in which they play, the name of the current coach, the team’s geographic location, the number of Stanley Cups a team has won, and the team’s nickname(s). The rest of the box consists of four bits of team trivia, such as the number of times a team has won a division or conference championship, a team’s number of playoff appearances, how many Hall of Famers a team has produced, and the NHL trophies won by the team’s players. The “History” chapter blends well with the “Introduction” by adding detail. Where the team plays is dealt with in the chapter titled “The Arena” while “Where They Play” consists of a map of the United States and Canada on which are placed the locations of the NHL’s 30 teams, with those in the NHL Western Conference being highlighted in blue and those of Eastern Conference in red. The location of a book’s focal team is identified by a yellow star. A legend at the bottom of the page identifies the teams that are in each of a conference’s two divisions. A text box adds detail to the previous chapter, “The Arena”, by providing the street, city location of the arena, the dates of when construction on the arena began and was completed, and “Features”, such as an arena’s seating capacity or the number of suites it has.
The next two chapters, “The Uniforms” and “Helmets and Face Masks” are quite complementary in content. The former, in addition to describing the colour scheme for a team’s home and away jerseys, addresses a team’s “alternate” jersey(s). The latter chapter does the same for players’ helmets while addressing goalies’ face masks and how goalies personalize them through painting them.
In Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators, the “Coaches” chapter focuses more on each team’s more recent coaches. The content of “Fans and the Internet” is, for the most part, rather bland as it directs readers to various websites that might be of fan interest.
The following two chapters, “Legends of the Past” and “Stars of Today”, each briefly profile three or four players from a team who meet that description.
“All-Time Records” does not generally mean NHL records. Instead, it usually refers to five team records set in various areas. For example, Ottawa Senators highlights “Most Games Played”, “Most Shutouts”, “Most Goals in a Single Season”, “Most Assists in a Season” and “Most Saves in a Season”.
“Timeline” concludes the main text. Understandably, each team’s two-page time timeline is unique and highlights a number of memorable events/happenings in that team’s history.
Of the books’ remaining five pages, two are given over to a section titled “Write a Biography” which provides instructions on how to write a biography, presumably of a hockey player, by making use of a concept web. The text contents of these two pages are identical among the books in the series with only the player’s photo being different in each book. Given that this series is about the NHL’s teams, this section seems out of place. To me, it comes across as a weak attempt to make a recreational read appear to have a curriculum link. The one-page “Trivia Time” does not add any new trivia about a team. Instead, it is actually a nine question quiz with the answers being based on the book’s contents. Inverting the book provides an answer key. Another page is given over to “Key Words” and “Index”. The former provides definitions of words that have been highlighted in the text. Overall, the definitions are adequate, but that of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy contains an error. The definition reads:
The error is in the word off. Yes, the Lady Byng Trophy is given to a player “who exhibits great playing skills” but that player must also exhibit a high level of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct on the ice. In short, the player must stay out of the penalty box.
One could question whether or not an index is really necessary for the books in the series, but, if there is going to be one, it should be complete. Using the Ottawa Senators’ index as an example, Ron Tugnutt (p. 1), Dominak Hasek (p. 6), Frank Finnigan (p. 12), Daniel Berthiaume, (p. 15) Rick Bowness (p. 26) and Doug Beaupre (p. 26) are all mentioned in the text, but not one of them is found in the index. Though the current name of the Ottawa’ Senators’ arena (The Canadian Tire Centre) is found in the index, none of its three earlier names are (The Palladium, Corel Centre and Scotia Bank Place, p. 8).
Given how short each book is, there is really no excuse for errors in the text. In the “The Coaches” chapter in Ottawa Senators, on p. 16, readers are told “The Ottawa Senators have had 10 coaches since they rejoined the NHL in 1992", but on p. 17, the text reads, “Of the franchise’s nine coaches....”
Although the two books have a 2016 copyright date, the contents of Winnipeg Jets were obviously assembled in early 2015 at the latest since the text does not acknowledge the Jets’ appearance in the 2014-15 playoffs nor does it note the return of the Manitoba Moose to the MTS Centre (see first excerpt).
The final page, p. 32, underlines that the books in this series are AV² media enhanced. Each book has a book code on p. 2, and that code needs to be entered on the AV² website (www.av2books.com). To be certain that you really have the book and not just the code, the website has a security question. For example, “What is the last word of the second paragraph on page 7?” The security question changes each time you log in to the same book. As a resident of Winnipeg and a Jets fan, I went to the enhanced webpages for Winnipeg Jets, and I was quite underwhelmed by what I found. Page 32 of the book said that I was supposed to be able to “Listen to sections of the book read aloud.” For Winnipeg Jets, that translated into hearing most of the first paragraph on p. 4 being read aloud, and then having it being repeatedly used to introduce the other nine chapter sections of the website. Earlier I noted that the book had 12 chapters, but the website omits “The Arena” (pp. 8-9) and “Timeline” (pp. 26-27). Page 32 of the book also claimed that “You will gain access to enriched and enhanced content that supplements and complements this book.” To me, “enriched and enhanced” suggests “new” information, and in only one instance did the book’s website truly go beyond what the book contained. “Fans and the Internet” (pp. 18-19) took me to a website of Jets logos, with some of them being unfamiliar to me. There are a few quizzes and activities, but the vast majority of these simply repeat what was found in the book, albeit in a different format. The two videoclips are perhaps the most engaging content of the website.
Because the books in the “Inside the NHL” series are about dynamic subject matter, they will have a limited shelf life.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, has attended Jets’ games in both of the team’s iterations as well as an Ottawa Senators game (though he can`t recall what its arena was then called).
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