Tuesday, 16 February 2010

TBC: Canada's Olympic Hockey History

I've waited a little bit to bring you this edition of Teebz's Book Club, but it's certainly worth the wait. With the 2010 Winter Olympics underway in Vancouver, and today being the first day of the men's hockey tournament at those Olympics, TBC is proud to bring to you Canada's Olympic Hockey History: 1920-2010, written by Andrew Podnieks and published by Fenn Publishing Company. This book brings to life all of Canada's Olympic hockey teams with colour photos of each team's uniform and excellent looks at some black-and-white photography of the teams in action. The stories explain in great detail exactly what the each of the teams were forced to overcome in representing the team, as well as information on the teams that Canada faced in each Olympiad.

Andrew Podnieks has written more than 50 books on hockey, including Honoured Canadiens, Celebrating the Game, and Lord Stanley's Cup. Mr. Podnieks has played a major role in researching international hockey for various institutions including the Hockey Hall of Fame, the IIHF, and Hockey Canada. The Canadian author has provided Hockey Canada all of the statistics and historical info on all of Canada's teams at of the IIHF major tournaments since 2003. You can check out his website, which features all of his books, by clicking here.

The book starts in 1920 when the sport of ice hockey was admitted as an Olympic sport. The first team profiled is the Winnipeg Falcons, Canada's team chosen to travel to Antwerp, Belgium and represent all of Canada after winning the Allan Cup. The story of trip, the reasons for including hockey at the Olympics, the rules of play at the first Olympiad featuring hockey, and a system of elimination called the "Bergvall system" are all explained in this first chapter. And that all occurs over ten pages. Of course, there are some gorgeous photos in here of the Falcons and some of the awards they received, so just flipping through the opening pages were quite amazing.

Perhaps one of the more interesting chapters in the book are the eleven pages covering the 1972 and 1976 withdrawal of the Canadians from the men's hockey tournaments in Sapporo, Japan and Innsbruck, Austria. It's a great examination at how the Summit Series and the Canada Cup came to be over what appeared to be the IIHF's favouring of the Soviet and European teams. Again, there are a number of gorgeous photos of the Canadian teams in their distinctive 1970s uniforms, and the information brought forth by Mr. Podnieks is quite interesting in its conclusions.

Where this book is worth its weight in gold (excuse the pun) is in the amazing photography that Mr. Podnieks has included. Every single year that is featured in the book has a number of photos of the team. These included on-ice game photos, official team photos, and include images of the opposing teams as well. Some of the more impressive photographs are those of the rarely-seen teams: Austria of 1984, USSR of 1964, the 1952 Edmonton Mercurys of Canada, and the 1932 Americans. Gorgeous sweaters and jerseys are shown throughout the book in the photos, and Mr. Podnieks needs to be commended on his thorough visual experience in this book.

Mr. Podnieks also does a tremendous job in his thorough literary examination of the Olympic teams. He covers both the men's and women's teams, and provides a large number of stories to complement his detailed accounts of each team's trials at the Olympics. There is a huge amount of information compiled on the 256 pages of this book, and the work done by Mr. Podnieks is absolutely outstanding.

In combining the excellent photography with his in-depth research and solid writing, Mr. Podneiks turns in a gold medal effort. Canada's Olympic Hockey History: 1920-2010 is the perfect historical look at Canada's Olympic teams both in visual and literary terms, and is an excellent way to kick off the Olympic hockey tournaments in 2010. Because of his outstanding work, Mr. Podnieks certainly is deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval, and I highly recommend checking out this book for all of your Canadian Olympic hockey historical information.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Bug said...

It looks like we are off to a good start in the 2010 games. It's definatly looking like they are traveling swiftly down the road of redemption.
It's obvious Canada has an edge when it comes to Ice Hockey. We've taken most Gold's in men's hockey. With the exception of the brain fart in turin, the years Canada withdrew from Olympic Hockey. Since they were not allowed to use thier professional NHL players. I think at that itme they created the CANADA CUP..which was dominated by NHL players.
I should definatly check out tha tbook.