CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 3 . . . . September 21, 2012
Despite Tyler's playing hockey on a Triple A team, the highest calibre of minor hockey, the game had ceased to be fun for him, and consequently, following his team's last game of the season a year ago, Tyler had approached his father, saying, "Dad, you know how you always said it was always my choice to play hockey? Well, I've decided that I don't want to play next year..." Tyler's father, while briefly pointing out the consequences of Tyler's decision, does not try to dissuade his son. "Okay, Tyler," my dad sighed. "It's your choice."
Although Tyler had left competitive hockey, his interest in the game still remained, and the book's opening sees Tyler and his father on their way to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver where they were going to take in some of the hockey games, including the medal rounds and the gold medal game. Tyler was also particularly excited by the fact that he would see his favourite player, Sydney Crosby, someone whose career Tyler had followed since Crosby entered the NHL in 2005. A highlight for Tyler had been his attending the first Winter Classic game in Buffalo, NY, in 2008. During that game, Crosby had scored the winning goal for the Penguins on the Sabres goalie, Ryan Miller. What had particularly impressed Tyler about Crosby was Crosby's obvious love for the game of hockey. Though author Leonetti briefly addresses Canada's games leading up to the Gold Medal game, the book's "historical" focus is on that final game between Canada and the American team that had earlier beaten the Canadians during the preliminary round of the competition. Perhaps not as iconic as Henderson's goal during the '72 Summit Series, Crosby's overtime winning goal that beat the American goalie, Ryan Miller, will be one that will be long remembered by those who viewed it in person or on TV. Seeing Crosby exuberantly celebrating the win with his teammates causes Tyler to recall similar fun, happy moments with his fellow players, and he decides he will start playing competitive hockey again. The book's closing pages see Tyler successfully rejoining his team and scoring the winning goal in the team's first tournament. The book closes with a one-page biography of Crosby and a photo.
Once again, Leonetti has successfully utilized his principal ingredients: a young boy's personal story intertwined with some "historical" event involving an actual current or former National Hockey League player. Adding more colour to Leonetti's tale is the realistic artwork of Gary McLaughlin whose action-filled illustrations minimally take up a full-page of each pair of facing pages and often spill over to occupy three-quarters of a double-page spread. While the story provides Tyler with a happy ending. Leonetti does present a very realistic coach of Tyler's Triple A team who challenges the wanna-return player: "He said I needed to be serious about it. 'Show me the passion is back, Tyler.'" And many readers of Crosby's Golden Goal may wish that they, too, had understanding parents, like Tyler's father, who recognized that all of the activities in which their children are involved (and not just sports) had to include a significant component of plain old "fun."
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, has fun in Winnipeg, MB.
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