________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 25. . . .March 5, 2010.


Hockey Talk: The Language of Hockey from A-Z.

John Goldner. Illustrated by Ted Heeley.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010.
103 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-55455-092-0.

Subject Headings:
Hockey-Dictionaries, Juvenile.
Hockey-Terminology-Juvenile literature.
Sportscasters-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** ½/4



shooting gallery The unfortunate goalie and his net area when they are being bombarded by a lot of shots.

Dictionaries are normally not the stuff of middle schoolers recreational reading, but, when it’s a dictionary of hockey terms and phrases, then it becomes much more acceptable to be seen with such a “reference” book. From A’s aerial to Z’s Zamboni, Goldner defines some 330 words or phrases connected to the game of hockey, terms like brawl, feed and moose and phrases such as around-the-world glove save, give the what-for and ring the boards. When a word or term has more than one hockey meaning, Goldner provides the appropriate additional meanings.

hot shot (1) a very hard slapshot or wristshot on or at the net. (2) A flashy, confident young player.

     With some of his definitions, Goldner also uses the word or phrase in a sentence.

hung out to dry. Left alone to fend for himself. When a team gets caught up the ice or otherwise abandons their goalie, it often results in a goal. The defense has really hung Wallberg out to dry.

     When deemed appropriate, Goldner also supplies “See also” references.

orchestrate the play When a creative puck holder controls the puck while expertly surveying the situation in order to set up the attack. See also: quarterback

     Many of the definitions are accompanied by sidebar fact boxes. For example, the definition of flying Skating fast. The Terriers are flying tonight, especially Skillins. He can really fly! is accompanied by the following fact box:


“Speed Demon”

Mike Gartner set the record for fastest skater at the 1996 NHL All-Star Game, completing one lap around the rink in 13.386 seconds.

     internal artAlthough the contents of the fact boxes, such as the one above, may utilize NHL examples, Goldner has eschewed including words and terms that would be more normally associated with professional hockey, terms like “called up,” “sent down,” “stuck around for a cup of coffee” or “going to the show.” Overall, Goldner seems to have been very thorough, and the only hockey term that I found missing was one I’ve heard this year on televised NHL games - “slap pass.” As with all specialized vocabularies, new terms are constantly being added, and so perhaps that fact explains the omission of slap pass. Goldner does recognize that females are part of the game of hockey, but his use of masculine pronouns greatly outnumbers the feminine pronouns.

     Heeley’s cartoon-like illustrations, generously scattered throughout the book, provide a humourous, often literal, interpretation of Goldner’s definitions..

     Sprinkled among the definitions are 10 two-page biographies of “famous” hockey announcers: Gene Hart, Bob Cole, Don Cherry, Foster Hewitt, Fred Cusick, Mike Lance, René Lecavalier, “Howie” Meeker, Rick “RJ” Jeanneret and Danny Gallivan. Likely of the 10, only Don Cherry will be familiar to a national reading audience, and then only if they are fans of “Coach’s Corner” on Hockey Night in Canada. Each biography is accompanied by one of Heeley’s caricatures of the announcer. Goldner doesn’t provide any rationale for including these people, although I’m sure he would argue that they merit inclusion because they are among those, who, if they didn’t invent the hockey terminology, certainly helped to popularize it.

Highly Recommended.

A hockey fan, Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, once the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, is CM’s editor.

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

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