Sunday, 21 September 2008

TBC: Black And Gold

Teebz's Book Club is proud to present another book today that should be on the bookshelf in every hockey fan's home. I happen to like books that present a pile of NHL history because it gives you a sense of why the NHL was so great in years past. Today's book, Black and Gold: Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs, is an amazing collection of photos by Steve Babineau. Written by Rob Simpson and published by Wiley, this book is similar in nature to Saving Face in that it is a gallery of amazing photography. The rich history of the Bruins captured by Steve Babineau cannot be put into words due to the amazing pictures he has included, but I'll try to give you a description of this astonishing publication.

Rob Simpson already has one publication out. He co-authored Between the Lines: Not-So-Tall Tales from Ray "Scampy" Scapinello's Four Decades in the NHL. That's quite the title. Mr. Simpson is a 25-year veteran in the sports reporting and broadcasting business, producing such television shows as Hockey Odyssey on the NHL Network and Maple Leaf America on Leafs TV.

Steve Babineau has been the official Bruins photographer for the last 35 years, and has also worked for the Red Sox, Celtics, and various events that have traveled through Boston. His images have appeared in magazines, yearbooks, on hockey cards and promotional items, and on-line. Today, he and his son, Brian, run Sports Action Photography, and are still mainstays with their cameras at the TD Banknorth Garden when the Bruins play.

The foreword is written by one of the Bruins' most famous faces in former head coach, Don Cherry. Cherry writes a great little story about how he met Babineau, and puts his personal touch on Babineau's great work over the years.

Don't forget: we're talking about forty years of pictures here. There's bound to be thousands of them that Babineau has taken and used in publications, but there's probably even more that haven't been selected. It's in this book, though, that Babineau organizes them into specific categories where his favourite photos can be shown. And, without any doubt, there are some absolute gems in his collection.

There are fifteen chapters in the book, and all of them are beautifully detailed with photos. Some of the better parts are the little snippets of information that Babineau tacks on about the photos featured in the book.

Babineau covers all the legends with their own chapters: John Bucyk, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Terry O'Reilly, Ray Bourque, and Cam Neely. He includes sections devoted to the Lunch Pail Gang, coaches, goaltenders, defencemen, scorers, grinders, and enforcers. This coverage of all the various Bruins players is a wonder, and the photography is truly spectacular.

The historical aspects of this book are second-to-none as well. I discovered a fuzzy picture of the Chicago Blackhawks' 50th anniversary patch while flipping through the Terry O'Reilly section. Seeing all the old jerseys, the old masks, and the various nostalgia from the old Boston Gardens is reason enough to pick this book up. There are shots of the Cleveland Barons, the old Vancouver "V" jerseys, and the Atlanta Flames playing against the Bruins - it's this kind of history that I, as a hockey fan, have grown to love. How many people are aware that goaltender Jim Pettie played with the word "Seaweed" written above his eyes on his goalie mask?

Again, the stories and descriptions that go along with Babineau's amazing photography make this book even more valuable. There are stories and historical tidbits on every page, and both Babineau and Simpson should be commended for their thoroughness in this book.

Black and Gold: Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs is the standard that every team should be measured against when publishing a photographic history of their team. In my honest opinion, Steve Babineau should be a part of the Hockey Hall of Fame already after having seen his work. This book is the epitome of everything a team's history in photographs should be, and Black and Gold: Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs undoubtedly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval. If you're a hockey fan, a Bruins fan, or a hockey history buff, this book has to be part of your required reading. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

That's a great article about the book. It truly is an amazing book and everyone should enjoy reading it.

Anonymous said...

I just picked up the book today . I have been a big Bruins fan for 35years and I must say this book brings back a lot of memories. The photos are awesome !!! Great work , Mr.Babineau!!!

A must read for all Bruins fans !!


Dee Son said...

Steve Babineau's images on promotional items are stunning. They appeared to be more than just mere images. I have some promotional items like Steve's and can be found here: