________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 11. . . .November 15, 2013


The Big Book of Hockey for Kids.

Eric Zweig.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2013.
125 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-1952-8.

Subject Headings:
Hockey-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.
National Hockey League-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

*** /4



On January 8, 1886, the sports page in the Montreal Gazette printed a brand new set of hockey rules. They were pretty similar to the rules of 1877, but now there would be a worse punishment for breaking the rules than just a faceoff. This time, the rules said, “after being warned twice by the referee, it shall become his duty to rule the player off the ice for the (rest of the game).”

For the next few years, the only kind of penalty was to kick a player out of the game, a match penalty. Around 1904, referees were also given the option of sending a player off the ice for two, three or five minutes. When the NHL began in 1917-18, there were three-minute penalties and five-minute penalties in addition to match penalties.


internal artThe Big Book of Hockey for Kids, which could also be called The Encyclopedia of Hockey for Kids, contains a great deal of information about the game, how it began, how it evolved and much else besides. It has 14 chapters varying in length from four to eighteen pages. They cover many topics including everything one would expect plus a number of unusual and unexpected ones. There is information, for example, on Jewish NHL players, the first NHL goal and the development of hockey gear. Also included is information on the Preston Rivulettes girls’ softball team which became a hockey team at the end of the softball season. This team won the Ladies Ontario Hockey Association Championship 10 years in a row, a fact of which few hockey fans are likely aware.

     The book is almost equally divided between the written text and charts and tables full of hockey facts. One of the charts is a two-page spread illustrating the “Official NHL Rink Dimensions”. One of the tables shows the goalies with the “Most Vezina Trophy Wins”. One of the most interesting pages of both text and illustrations shows the arm movements referees make for awarding penalties.

      The Big Book of Hockey for Kids has an index and is very well illustrated throughout with both colour and black and white photographs. These are decorative in nature. It is well researched as the following quote illustrates:

There’s another story about how hockey got its name. According to some, a British military man named Colonel Hockey was stationed at Fort Edward in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in the early 1800s. Some say he created the game to keep his troops in shape, but there is no documented proof of this.

     As far as this reviewer can tell, the facts in the book are accurate. Since the study of hockey is not likely to be on a school curriculum, the book is only useful for recreational purposes.

      Eric Zweig, the author of The Big Book of Hockey for Kids is well-qualified to write hockey books for children. He has written other hockey books for children, including Star Power: The Legend and Lore of Cyclone Taylor. In addition, he is a consulting publisher for the NHL and a managing editor of Dan Diamond and Associates, a firm that provides publishing services and information to sports clients. It is obvious that he knows a great deal of hockey facts, lore and trivia. His style of writing is suitable for the intended audience. Most youngsters should enjoy his book.


Thomas F. Chambers, an author and 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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