CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005
Arpon Basu, who covers sports for the Canadian Press in Montreal and writes a weekly amateur sports column for the Montréal Gazette, has put together a collected biography containing a dozen of today’s “young” NHL superstars: Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby, Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo, Jarome Iginla, Zdeno Chara, Danny Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jose Theodore, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Jay Bouwmeester. While eight of the players have their own separate chapters, four players, Atlanta Thrasher teammates Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk and Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards, are paired together in chapters. Of course, since Basu’s writing of the book, Hossa and Heatley have exchanged teams via a trade.
Each of the highly readable chapters follows the same pattern which involves tracing the path the player took in becoming involved in hockey, his early years in the game and how he made his way into the NHL, including what difficulties or challenges he had to overcome along the way as well as the challenges he may have encountered since becoming part of the NHL. The text is enlivened by quotes from the player, himself, or from his coaches, teammates or opposing players. With the exception of the chapters featuring two players, the others each conclude with an anecdote which provides further insight into the player’s character. For example, the anecdote about Iginla relates how he assisted four Calgarians, who had been sleeping in their car at the Salt Lake City Olympics, locate a hotel room and then how, unknown to them, he paid for their stay as well.
Because Hockey’s Hottest Players focuses on current star players, it should find a ready audience among young hockey fans. To his credit, Basu did not just concentrate on goal scoring forwards but also included defencemen and goalies. It is unfortunate that the book’s sole illustration is the colour cover shot of Jerome Iginla. Nonetheless, Hockey’s Hottest Players is an excellent addition to the recreational reading collections of school and public libraries. Because Basu chose to focus on the game’s younger stars, the book should have a reasonably lengthy shelf life.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and YA literature at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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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.