Thursday, 25 October 2007

TBC: Gretzky To Lemieux

In the very first installment of Teebz's Book Club, I am proud to bring to you Gretzky To Lemieux by Ed Willes. Mr. Willes' story of the 1987 Canada Cup goes beyond the games themselves. Instead of just highlighting what is considered the biggest goal in Hockey Canada's history, Mr. Willes goes about showing the drama and stories-within-the-story about all the politcal manoeuvring done on both the Canadian side and the Russian side. Packed with interviews from both sides, Mr. Willes features comments from some of the game's biggest stars from that period of time: Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Larionov, Kasatonov, Lemieux, Hawerchuk, and many others. They all tell of the games themselves, but also divulge details into some of the behind-the-scenes drama that never made its way to the public eye.

The book itself is divided into seven chronological chapters, along with a prologue, to help rebuild the entire series from training camp to fallout. Mr. Willes has done an excellent job in piecing together the history on both sides of ice, examining all the Canadian problems as well as documenting the situations that arose with the Russian team. Mr. Willes has shown a keen eye for detail, especially in his examination of Alan Eagleson. It is this attention to detail that should encompass any and all hockey fans in that it provides an up-close look at some of the early major struggles that hockey has had to endure.

In reading this book, it brought back several memories of watching the Canada Cup Finals on TV. I have seen the highlights over and over, but now I see more than just a drop pass from Gretzky to Lemieux. Mr. Willes has done an excellent job in showing the insight and thinking from some of the greatest minds to have ever been involved in hockey, most notably from the Russian side of the coin. Mr. Willes goes deeper than just the surface story and "the goal" to show exactly how the NHL players began the grassroots movement to what is now the NHLPA. He examines the Russian dream of playing in the NHL, from the thoughts of rebellion to actually lacing up the skates in the NHL. And, of course, Mr. Willes breaks down each of the Canada Cup Final games play-by-play, period-by-period with interviews from the players themselves.

I would personally say that this book is worth every penny for any sort of hockey fan, hockey historian, or sports fan. If you would like to read an excerpt from Ed Willes' Gretzky To Lemieux, please click here.

"Hockey fans should congratulate Willes on bringing it all back. He uses his reporter's thoroughness and his particular eye for the colourful angle to make it a great read."Neil Stevens, Canadian Press

Gretzky To Lemieux by Ed Willes gets the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval. It will certainly be a book that I refer back to in regards to its vast quantity of information.

As an aside, I will have another review shortly as I started reading a second book already. Keep your eyes on this blog for more TBC reviews, and I've created a section on the right where you can read all the reviews.

Until next time, read a book and keep your sticks on the ice!


The Dark Ranger said...

I love the Book Club idea...will keep a watchful eye on your suggestions. Just finished MESSIER, and what a great read. Inspiring.


Unknown said...

hmm I'll recommend this book to my friend who loves Hockey and based on your review, I'm pretty sure he'll like it :D

Marie said...

If you keep this up my X-mas wish list is going to be full of hockey books!