________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 37. . . .May 28, 2010.


Fighting for Gold: The Story of Canada’s Sledge Hockey Paralympic Gold (Recordbooks).

Lorna Schultz Nicholson.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2009.
128 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55277-030-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55277-031-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Hockey-Juvenile literature.
Hockey players with disabilities-Canada Juvenile literature.
Sports for people with disabilities-Juvenile literature.
Paralympics (9th: 2006: Turin, Italy)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.





A hockey sledge is made up of a plastic seat attached to a metal frame. This frame sits on two regular-sized skate blades, high enough that the puck can pass underneath. Every player has a sledge that is custom-made to fit the player’s body and disability. The athlete is strapped in the sledge at the ankles, knees, and hips. All sledge players must wear protective gear, including a full face mask.

Potential readers, seeing this book, will assume that it is about the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver because the games happened so recently. They will be disappointed. Fighting for Gold was published in 2009 and deals with earlier achievements of Canada’s Sledge Hockey Team. However, it is an informative book about a relatively unknown sport and may help to make it more popular. Reading about the skill of the sledge hockey players and their achievements will be an inspiration to young readers and help them to accept sledge athletes as “normal” people.

     The heart of Fighting for Gold is the account of the Canadian team’s performance at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, Italy. In this exciting series, Canada won the gold medal, defeating a talented Norwegian team in the final game.

     There is biographical information on all members of Canada’s sledge hockey team and how they became disabled. All overcame severe handicaps to play this unusual game and are proof that a severe physical problem need not be an impediment to a life as satisfying as that lived by someone without a disability.

     Fighting for Gold has an index and a glossary of useful terms, many applying to paralympians, such as paraplegic and spina bifida. It has numerous poor quality black and white photographs, mostly decorative, spread throughout the book. There is also an Epilogue which brings the sledge hockey story up to 2008 when Canada again defeated Norway, winning the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

     Lorna Schultz Nicholson, the author of Fighting for Gold also wrote Pink Power in the same series. In addition, she wrote Too Many Men and a number of other sports fiction books for the same publisher. Her writing style, at least in this book, occasionally lowers the value of her achievement. Writing intended for young readers just learning English should be of the highest order. Here, Nicholson falters. She wrote “Norway had beat Canada in the gold-medal game at the 1998 Paralympics” and “Canada had beat them all year.” Beat is an irregular verb. She should have written Norway beat Canada or Norway had beaten Canada. The same thing applies to the second example. She also used slang when she wrote, “The team had a lot of new young guys.” Young players would have been more appropriate, particularly when writing for the targeted ages. They will learn to use slang soon enough without seeing it in a book and assuming it is correct.

     The review copy of Fighting for Gold was very poorly bound as, after only one reading, a number of pages fell out.

Recommended with reservations.

Thomas F. Chambers, a retired college teacher lives in North Bay, ON.

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

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