CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 4. . . .September 23, 2016
As flocks of Canada Geese practice their V formations that signal the onset of fall, the arrival of Paul Romanuk’s annual Hockey Superstars announces that another season, that of the National Hockey League, is almost upon us. With the 2016-2017 edition, Romanuk, a sports broadcaster and author, maintains the annual’s familiar “sandwich” format. Again, the “meat” portion consists of 16 pairs of glossy pages, with the rectos resembling oversized hockey cards bearing an action, full colour photo of one of the volume’s superstars. This year’s entries are arranged alphabetically from the Dallas Stars’ left winger Jamie Benn to the Los Angeles Kings’ center Tyler Toffoli. Romanuk has returned to the annual’s former practice of featuring a seventeenth star on the book’s cover. The Edmonton Oiler’s 2015 first round entry draft pick, center Connor McDavid, is the cover photo with the two-column text about him once again appearing on the cover’s verso. The major text for the other NHL stars, which appears on the page facing the player’s photo, usually speaks to happenings related to the player’s previous NHL season and includes quotes by or about the player, with one comment being highlighted and bolded. For example, Corey Crawford, a Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie, might have been addressing being scored on when he said, ”The most important play in goaltending is the next play. That last play that happened, it’s done, it’s over. You’ve got to be thinking ahead to the next one.”
“Did You Know?” and “Hockey Memories” can be found at the bottom of the text page, with both providing brief snippets of information about the page’s focal player. For example, the “Did You Know?” about the Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Drew informs readers that “When Drew first showed up in Los Angeles, not long after he was drafted, he visited the Pacific Ocean and proceeded to walk into the water for a laugh! His clothes were completely soaked, as were his wallet and cellphone.” This year’s “Hockey Memories” appear to be a bit more personal than in earlier editions. The Colorado Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, a center, recalled a memory involving his sister. “Matt loved to work on his shot in the driveway when he was a kid, firing dozens of pucks, but he didn’t always enjoy picking up the pucks afterward. Sometimes he would pay his sister, Jessica, to round all the pucks up so they’d be ready to go the next time.” On the action photo page, Romanuk provides the player’s stats for the previous season as well as his draft ranking and first NHL team, date and place of birth, position, height and weight (Metric and Imperial units) plus shooting/catching handedness.
Of the NHL’s 30 teams, a dozen are represented in this edition of Hockey Superstars, with five teams, the Stars, Ducks, Blackhawks, Kings and Capitals, each having two entries. Players who are wingers and centers constituted 11 of the entries while the remainder consisted of four defensemen and two goalies. The book’s superstars are a mixture of established veterans and relative newcomers, with players like the Sharks’ Brent Burns, the Canucks` Daniel Sedin, and the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, falling into the former category, and players such as the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Senators’ Mike Hoffman representing the latter.
The book’s sandwich “bread” is again made up of two sections of matte pages which principally provide brief, point form information about the NHL teams, end of season stats, NHL awards, and 18 referee signals, or the pages offer the book’s readers opportunities to record information as the season proceeds or to make predictions about individual players or team outcomes. A new addition, found on the book’s last page, is “Superstars of the Future?” which lists five of the first six picks of the 2016 Entry Draft. They are described as players “who we believe have a good chance to become future superstars.” The omitted player, the fifth pick in the first round, was Olli Juolevi who was the Vancouver Canucks’ selection. Juolevi’s a defenseman while the named “future superstars” are all forwards.
The reader participation “bread” portions reinforce that Hockey Superstars 2016-2017 is more likely an individual “home” purchase, but copies in public and school libraries should also circulate well.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB, the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets who selected Patrik Laine second in the 2016 Entry Draft.
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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.