Monday, 31 December 2012


I had thoughts of doing a "best of" list of articles I wrote this year, but I've done that in past years and I'm not sure there was any benefit for readers by doing this exercise. Instead, I'm going to close 2012 by trying to reach my goal of reading fifty books this year, and this book capped off a great year. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review J.R.: The Fast, Crazy Life of Hockey's Most Outspoken & Most Colorful Personality, written by Jeremy Roenick with Kevin Allen and published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. If the subtitle of the book is any indication, "outspoken" and "colorful" are indeed the tip of the iceberg as Jeremy Roenick speaks openly and candidly about everything in this book. The result is a highly entertaining and very enjoyable read about one of hockey's greatest stars.

From the book's dust jacket, "Jeremy Roenick was born in Boston and raised in hockey rinks across the northeastern United States. A high draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, Roenick was known for his combustible behaviour on and off the ice. He served as a judge on the number one CBC Television show Battle of the Blades
and is a popular hockey commentator and media personality. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Roenick and become a fan on Facebook."

Also from the dust jacket, "Kevin Allen has been USA Today's hockey writer since 1986 and is currently president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The author of several hockey bios, Allen lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Follow him on Twitter @kausatoday." He has written other hockey books such as Without Fear: The Greatest Goalies of All Time, Why is the Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Pool?, and Mr. & Mrs. Hockey: A Tribute to the Sport's Greatest Couple.

Jeremy Roenick was one of hockey's best players during his time in Chicago, but this book is so much more than just a reflective book on his hockey career. In J.R., Roenick looks at all of his dealings in hockey, from being a tyke in minor hockey right through to his retirement. The stories he tells from his experiences will make you laugh and certainly give you a better understanding of the man regularly seen on NBC hockey broadcasts.

Roenick isn't just honest in this book. He is candid about the players he played with and against, the men who coached him, his wife and family, his career as a whole, his vices, and his demons. He doesn't back away from his opinions, and certainly uses enough colorful language that you'd think you were out for a beer with the guy. While some may shy away from that language, I find that it solidifies the image of Jeremy Roenick in J.R.: a tough, gritty, take-no-prisoners player who seemingly scored at will.

Perhaps one of the most notable times that Jeremy Roenick was most vocal was during the lockout of 2004-05. Roenick had been speaking to teammates about accepting a salary cap, and he was in touch with the NHLPA executives about this. They denied that there were players who wanted a cap, and Roenick feels that former director Bob Goodenow lost his way as the director. He writes,
"It was at that time that my relationship with Goodenow broke down. I respected him for what he had done for the NHLPA. Certainly, I benefited from the work Goodenow had doen to raise salaries early in my career. When salaries became public under his watch, the escalated dramatically. But somewhere along the line, he seemed to losed track of the reality that he was working for us and not the other way around. He never yelled at me, I didn't like being around him because of his arrogance. When he answered a question, it always seemed that he was telling you what your opinion should be. He was condescending and made you feel that his word was final. I had the feeling he didn't respect the opinion of any player who didn't agree with him."
And that's the kind of candid and honest writing you'll find in J.R.. There is no topic that Jeremy Roenick doesn't tackle, and he takes you behind the scenes into the dressing room and private airplanes where the players escape some of the prying eyes of the media and fans. While he does protect players by not naming players in some situations, the situations are certainly not off the table. He describes some very funny situations, but omits names as he sees fit. I have no problem with this.

J.R.: The Fast, Crazy Life of Hockey's Most Outspoken & Most Colorful Personality is a fantastic look at life in the NHL through the eyes of Jeremy Roenick. I read this book in one sitting because it was funny and entertaining, and I'm sure that you'll find his recollections of NHL life to be very enjoyable as well. I have to say that due the R-rated language used over the 304 pages that this book is definitely for adults, but it's one that all hockey fans will like. Because of Roenick's funny stories, honesty, openness, and solid writing, J.R.: The Fast, Crazy Life of Hockey's Most Outspoken & Most Colorful Personality absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval, and is one of my favorite books this year!

Pick it up for yourself or another adult hockey fan, and let them laugh at Roenick's stories as J.R.'s books will certainly be a great read for any mature hockey fan. Even if you don't like Roenick, his insight into many stories will give you a better perspective on what goes on behind closed doors in the NHL!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Peter Santellan said...

I'm presuming it's the same book with a different title in Canada, as the Roenick autobiography in the U.S. is titled J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey. It's written by Roenick and Kevin Allen.

Teebz said...

It's not, Pete. As you can see in the image, it's titled entirely different on the HarperCollins Canada page. :o)

Peter Santellan said...

In the U.S., it's put out by Triumph Books. I'll have to read through it and post the review with what they have as the cover. From what I see on your review, it's different publishers, for sure.