________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 17 . . . .April 13, 2007

cover

Edmonton Oilers. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-260-2.

Subject Heading:
Edmonton Oilers (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Calgary Flames. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-258-9.

Subject Heading:
Calgary Flames (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Montreal Canadiens. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-264-0.

Subject Heading:
Montreal Canadiens (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Ottawa Senators. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-262-6.

Subject Heading:
Ottawa Senators (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Toronto Maple Leafs. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-266-4.

Subject Heading:
Toronto Maple Leafs (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Vancouver Canucks. (Hockey in Canada).

Don Cruikshank.
Calgary, Weigl (Distributed by Saunders Book Company), 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-268-8.

Subject Heading:
Vancouver Canucks (Hockey team)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

About the Mascot

Harvey the Hound has been the Flames mascot since 1983. He was the first NHL mascot. Harvey is huge. He is 6-feet-6-inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He entertains fans and leads cheers to draw the crowd into the spirit of the game.

Sometimes he distracts opposing teams with his antics. Once, the Oilers' coach ripped out Harvey's big, cloth tongue. Harvey had been taunting him from behind the bench. (From
Calgary Flames.)

 

Despite the inclusiveness suggested by the series's title, hockey means the National Hockey League, and each of the six books focuses on one of the NHL teams that is located in a Canadian city. As the books are part of a series, a certain sameness is to be expected, and a comparison of the sextet reveals that the books share a common pattern of organization with the some portions being virtually identical and only made different by the inclusion of text or photographic examples drawn from the book's focal hockey team.

     The 32 page books are divided into 12 "chapters" each consisting of a pair of facing pages, with each book's three remaining pages being taken up by a quiz, a page related to "Further Research" and the closing page consisting of a glossary and index.

     The text of the opening chapter, "The History of the NHL," is common to all of the books. It also includes a brief table which delineates four "Changes Throughout the Years," with one of them being that, in the past, "the puck was wooden" but now "The puck is rubber."

      The next section is entitled "The Rise of the [insert team name]" which provides a brief chronological history of the appropriate team. Given that the three oldest teams began early in the twentieth century whereas the remaining younger teams date from the 1970s, obviously there is a difference in the historical detail provided for the two groupings. This section also includes a "Quick Facts" box that provides some details about the city in which the team is located.

      "Home of the [insert team name]" includes a photo of the arena in which the book's team now plays while the text describes the various arenas in which the team has played during its history. For example, the Edmonton Oilers initially played in the Edmonton Gardens, which had been built in 1913, before moving to the Northlands Coliseum in 1974. The text then follows how the Northlands name changed to the Edmonton Coliseum before becoming the Skyreach Centre and now Rexall Place. This section also includes "About the Mascot" [see excerpt above]. As the Oilers are the only Canadian team that doesn't have a mascot, that portion was replaced with more arena facts.

      "Hockey Positions" provides information about what it is that those who play the three hockey positions (forward, defense and goalie) are to do. The largely common text is individualized for each team by including specific player examples drawn from each team. For example, when the text describes the two types of defensemen, the offensive and the stay-at-home varieties, Chris Philips is used as an example of the latter type in Ottawa Senators and Rhett Warrener in Calgary Flames. A box indicates team "All-Time Leaders" in such categories as "Most Goals," "Most Assists" and "Most Seasons Played." For some unknown reason, these categories are not used consistently, with some, like "Most Penalty Minutes," not occurring in all books. An interesting addition to this section is "The Goalie and his Mask" which features photos of three of the team's goalies and their masks, with the text explaining what is painted on the mask.

      Like the previous section, "Hockey Equipment" provides a largely common text which briefly describes what equipment is worn by defensemen and forwards and by the goalie. While labeled photos of players show where equipment is worn, a number of the items, such as shin pads and elbow pads, cannot be seen because they are covered by sweaters and socks. "Team Jerseys" illustrates and describes three different sweaters that are worn by each team, these usually being a home and away sweater plus a "third" jersey.

      "Competition in the National Hockey League" is another of the common text sections, and it explains how the 30 NHL teams are divided first into two conferences and then into three divisions within each conference. As well, this section visually shows the workings of the playoff system which leads to the Stanley Cup winner being declared.

      The next section, which deals with continuing competitive rivalries between teams, has various names. For Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens, it's called "Biggest Rivals" while in Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers it's labeled "The Battle of Alberta." "The Battle of Ontario" is the section's name in Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. I was a bit surprised to see that author Cruikshank identified the Boston Bruins as being the Canadiens' major rival as I've always considered their principal competitors to be the Toronto Maple Leafs. "Making It to the NHL" follows the various paths that players can follow in attempting to become an NHL player. Again a largely common text is individualized for each team via the use of team specific player examples. Oddly, three of the books say that "Most NHL franchises own an AHL team" while three substitute the word "all" for "most." This section also includes a feature box on the play-by-play announcer(s) who is/are identified with each team.

      "The Olympics" is the only section which stretches beyond the NHL, and one of the two pages focuses on "Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey." The other page deals with players from the Canadian Olympic Men's hockey team, and the largely common text again interjects the names of players from the book's target team. For five of the books, a box identifies the Canadian players from that NHL team who have competed for Canada in one or more recent Winter Olympics. Because the Canadiens have not contributed any players to recent Canadian Olympic Men's hockey teams, the Canadien's box highlights the foreign born Canadiens players who have worn their home countries' jerseys in the Olympic Games.

      With the exception of Calgary Flames which has four, "Popular [insert team name] Coaches" highlights three coaches from each team's history. Included in this section is "Making the Call" which describes the roles of the linesmen and referees during a game.

      Naturally, the contents of "Unforgettable Moments" are unique to each team, and a table sets outs "NHL Individual and Team Awards Won by the [insert team name]."

      "[Insert team name] Legends and Current Star" uses a hockey card-like format to highlight each team's star players. For the Oilers, Flames, and Canadiens, Cruikshank chose two legends and two contemporary players while the Senators' pages are devoted entirely to current stars. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, Cruikshank selected only Mats Sundin from the current team while going the opposite way with the Canucks and highlighting Stan Smyl as the sole "legend."

      The content of "The Best Years" is unique to each team, and this section also highlights the service that the team and/or specific players carry out to enrich the community. For example, the Canucks' Marcus Naslund participates in the Goals and Dreams program that raises money for various hockey programs for children while the Edmonton Oiler have a program called Seats for Kids that gives underprivileged children the opportunity to attend Oilers games.

      The "Quiz" consists of 10 factual questions, based on each book's text, with the answers being provided on the same page.

      "Further Research" is a wasted page. Instead of providing a bibliography of books or websites, the text simply advises young readers to "input a key word" into a library's database or "type key words, such as 'Edmonton Oilers' or 'NHL teams' into the search field" of a search engine.

      The "Glossary" consists of definitions of 22-25 words which had been bolded in the text. A very brief and obviously incomplete "Index" closes out each work.

      Cruikshank's text is quite readable by the books' intended audience. The few measurements that are given are only in Imperial units, however. Visually attractive, the books are replete with illustrations, most full-coloured photos. Not all are captioned though, and while that situation is acceptable for long time NHL fans such as myself, contemporary youngsters will wonder who some of the players in the photos are. And, of course, in today's NHL, with its salary cap and free agency, a star player will likely no longer spend his entire career with one team, a fact demonstrated by the photo of Ryan Smyth on the title page of Edmonton Oilers.

      Reluctant readers, especially those who are hockey fans, will undoubtedly be attracted to individual titles from the "Hockey in Canada" series. Given the amount of content overlap amongst the books, libraries will need to decide for themselves whether they want to purchase the entire set or just specific titles.

Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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