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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

TBC: My Greatest Day

Teebz's Book Club returns today with yet another CBC-related book. I honestly never intended to make the HBIC Literary Project a Bruins/CBC project, but I guess I had a number of books sitting on my bookshelf that dealt with those two topics. When thinking of some of the greatest hockey players of all-time, it might be hard for these players to narrow down one day as the greatest day in their lives. My Greatest Day, written by Scott Morrison and published by Key Porter Books, asks fifty high-profile hockey players about the greatest single day in their lives, and the results are quite interesting. From Wayne Gretzky to Sidney Crosby to Hayley Wickenheiser, the collection of hockey greats assembled by Mr. Morrison in this book is nothing short of the "best of the best", and they all give a glimpse as to which day was the greatest in their careers.

Scott Morrison may be best recognized for his work on the HNIC's iDesk with Jeff Marek, but he has been around the game of hockey for a quarter of a century! According to his CBC bio, Morrison "began his career at the Toronto Sun in 1979. After spending more than 11 years as a hockey writer and columnist at the paper, Morrison became Sports Editor in 1991 and led the section to being named one of North America's top-ten sports sections in 1999 - the first sports section in Canada to receive the AP Sports Editors North American Award. In 2001 Morrison joined Rogers Sportsnet as Managing Editor, Hockey". The Toronto native is an accomplished author, and he currently resides in Don Mills, Ontario with his wife, Kathy, and his son, Mark.

My Greatest Day is nothing more than a book with fifty stories from fifty hockey greats. Mr. Morrison interviewed all sorts of hockey players, including legends such as Gretzky, Dave Keon, Paul Henderson, and Mike Ramsey, but also included the current crop of NHL stars such as Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Corey Perry. Each of the fifty players interviews gives a different moment in their lives that they feel has been the greatest day yet, and there are some interesting moments chosen.

You would think that winning a Stanley Cup, a major NHL award, or an international medal would be in a lot of these stories, but there are actually a lot of stories that deal with other moments. One player chooses the day he was drafted into the NHL as his greatest moment. Another talks about a day he scored an NHL hat trick. One player speaks of seeing his first NHL jersey with his name on it in the dressing room as his greatest day. Overall, the stories are as varied as the people telling them, and they give a great cross-section of why this game means so much to the players playing it.

The one player interviewed in My Greatest Day that I thought gave an exceptional answer in terms of his greatest day was Tony Granato. Granato played NCAA hockey with the University of Wisconsin, but none of those days made the cut. He was drafted by the 120th overall by the New York Rangers in 1982, but that didn't make the cut. He was named to the 1988-89 All-Rookie team, but he chose a different day. He was chosen as an NHL All-Star during the 1996-96 season, but that wasn't his greatest day. Even winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy wasn't his greatest day! So what day was Tony Granato's greatest day?

"My greatest day in hockey was the day I watched my sister, Cammi, win and receive the first gold medal in the history of the Winter Olympics for women's hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. I was watching from home in Los Angeles with my wife, Linda, and our kids. It was a special moment."
How cool is that? Blood is thicker than water, but I thought that Tony Granato giving up the space in the book he was given to speak of his sister's achievement is pretty special. That's the kind of stuff that makes me love the game of hockey even more. Players can be entirely selfless when it comes to playing this game, and Tony Granato deserves some spotlight for his greatest day.

My Greatest Day is a very good book in that you get some insight on each of the players featured in the book. Their greatest days tell you a little bit about what they hold valuable in their careers, but it also exposes their personalities quite a bit. The stories are pretty neat in each of the fifty players' cases, and Mr. Morrison does a good job in bringing them together under this title.

My Greatest Day is suitable for all ages, and the 215-page book reads very easily. Because of the great stories contained within the covers, My Greatest Day deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval, and it is a great addition to your hockey book collection!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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