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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

TBC: Crosby's Golden Goal

While I realize that today, for most people, is World Junior Championship day as all of the teams begin the quest for gold in the IIHF Under-20 tournament, there is another Canadian team searching for success in Davos, Switzerland. There aren't a lot of books written about either tournament, but because today is about Team Canada embarking on another gold medal trek, Teebz's Book Club will be reviewing Crosby's Golden Goal, written by Mike Leonetti, illustrated by Gary McLaughlin, and published by Scholastic Canada. While it could be argued that this was the most important goal in Canadian hockey history, it is certainly one of the most memorable.

Mike Leonetti has written a number of hockey-centric books, including Canadiens Legends, Maple Leafs Top 100 Players, The Rocket, and The Mighty Tim Horton, all of which were reviewed right here on Hockey Blog In Canada. Mr. Leonetti lives in Woodbridge, Ontario, with his wife, Maria, and their son, David.

Illustrator Gary McLaughlin is probably best known for his piece Blue Sky-White Snow in which he painted every member of the Maple Leafs from 1927-2007 onto a 6x12' canvas! His "rich hockey illustrations have been commissioned by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Hockey Hall of Fame and Bobby Hull". He is a full-time artist, and lives in Neustadt, Ontario. You can see more of his works at www.riversonggallery.ca.

Crosby's Golden Goal will certainly be more relevant for younger readers as this goal only happened a few years ago. For anyone who was watching the Vancouver Olympic Games, the replay of the goal is probably still burned into your mind, especially if you're a Canadian or American hockey fan.

Where Crosby's Golden Goal is a little different is that Mr. Leonetti tells the story through the eyes of one young fan who was sitting in the stands during the gold medal game. The young hockey fan's name is Tyler, and he's a hockey player himself. Tyler had found that the game of hockey was losing its lustre as he wasn't having fun any longer, and Tyler needed to rediscover that missing spark.

After Tyler decides to quit playing, he spends more time with his family and watching one of his favorite players in Sidney Crosby. He even got to watch him at the Winter Classic in Buffalo as he attended the game! Tyler was impressed with Team Canada's 8-0 drubbing of the Norwegians, but he knew bigger and better teams awaited Canada.

The gold medal game was exciting as Canada took a 2-1 lead into the third period. A Zach Parise goal with just 25 seconds tied the game much to the chagrin of Tyler and the Canadian fans! Overtime was coming up, and, if no one scored in the extra frame, a shootout would take place to determine the gold medal winners!

As you're probably aware, Crosby and Iginla were the two men that made the golden goal possible as Iginla fed Crosby the puck as he skated out of the corner, and Crosby fired it through the poke-checking Ryan Miller. Canada would indeed win the 2010 Olympic Ice Hockey gold medal, and Tyler and his father would return home happy!

Crosby's Golden Goal doesn't end there, though. Tyler, who had found his passion again in seeing Crosby's goal, had quit his hockey team. Would Tyler return to hockey? Was there a spot on the team for him? Would he be welcomed back by his teammates and coaches?

Crosby's Golden Goal has some great artwork on the pages in the book as well. Mr. McLaughlin's illustrations are done extremely well, shifting between great definition to focus the eyes on the subject while allowing the background to be a little fuzzier. If there was any question or doubt to Mr. McLaughlin's work, the images added for this book how just how talented he is as an artist.

Crosby's Golden Goal teaches children a great lesson in terms of finding the fun in any activity. While it sometimes requires one to take a step back, finding that passion for whatever activity it is becomes vital in having fun. That lesson cannot be forgotten as many NHL players have most likely experienced the same lesson that Tyler did. Because of this important lesson, Mr. McLaughlin's great illustrations, and the good story woven by Mr. Leonetti, Crosby's Golden Goal certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

The 30-page story would be perfect for a young reader who loves the game of hockey but may be experiencing a little burnout from all the hockey he or she is playing. I highly recommend this book for any novice reader as the story is very relevant for any young hockey fan!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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