________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 10 . . . . November 6, 2009


Inside Hockey!: The Legends, Facts, and Feats That Made the Game.

Keltie Thomas. Illustrated by John Kicksee.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2008.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-897349-29-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-28-1 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Hockey-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Sherry Faller.

***½ /4


Sure, goalies are different. But Jacques Plante stuck out like no other. When he came into the NHL in the 1950s, goaltenders usually hung tight in the crease. Not Plante. Jake the Snake, as one sportswriter dubbed him, often slid out to pass the puck up to teammates. What's more, he went where no goalie had gone before - behind the net to corral the bouncing rubber.

Plante's frequent excursions gave fans a fright, raised an army of eyebrows, and led to some close calls. But Montreal Canadiens coach Dick Irvin didn't ask Plante to change his style.

"That boy is not only adding excitement to the game by dashing out after the puck," Irvin said, "but I predict he'll revolutionize goaltending." Irvin was right...

Plante also changed the face of goaltending forever when he insisted on wearing a mask.


She shoots! She scores! Keltie Thomas has scored again with another great hockey book. Known for her "How Sports Works" series, where the games are explained through skill development, this time she explains the stories behind the NHL greats. Canadian history has never been so exciting. Because the book has been written for all ages to enjoy, students could use this resource when doing a biographical assignment or they could read it purely for interest. Anything can happen in hockey, and Inside Hockey shares numerous stories in short annotations to prove just that!

     Both colour and black and white photos are used throughout the book. Bright red, yellow and blue titles have an eye-catching gloss, and many cartoon drawings echo the humour in the text. The articles are splashed across the pages, with pictures, photos and special features, like Legends on Ice, Science at Play, They Said It, Inside Scoop, The Game Was Never the Same, and Strange But True, being interspersed.

     "Legends on Ice" stories bring back hockey favourites. Secret weapons of the superstars, such as 'Mr. Hockey,' Gordie Howe, the 'Golden Jet,' Bobby Hull and 'The Great One,' Wayne Gretzky, start the book off with a hat-trick. "Science at Play" explains the science behind the angled shots on goal or how hot pennies can stick to the ice and hold up a game. "They Said It" features memorable quotes, surrounded by microphones, as at a news conference. "I like it when my hands are sweaty and the crowd is yelling and one bounce can decide whether you win or lose something." - Forward Ted Donato on being in the clutch. "Inside Scoop" alerts the reader to interesting, little-known hockey facts, and "The Game was Never the Same" box explains how players' actions changed how the game is played today. "Strange But True" tells of some of the craziest moments in hockey history.

     A favourite section will be the chapter on "Lucky Charms." Why, for instance, are octopuses thrown onto the ice at Detroit Red Wings' games? Why was there a Canadian loonie under the ice at the Salt Lake City Olympics, and what affect did it have on the Canadian teams? Why did Gretzky always tuck his sweater into his hockey pants?

     Keltie Thomas' easy-to-read writing style and love of hockey make this book a delightful addition to any school library or to personal collections. Her research into NHL hockey's background stories makes the history of the sport come alive. Inside Hockey will shoot off the shelf once it is discovered by both girls and boys who love hockey.

Highly Recommended.

Sherry Faller is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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.