Friday 7 June 2013

TBC: The Night They Stole The Stanley Cup

I'll admit that I'm addicted to these books now. The Screech Owls series continues with the second book, and I'm finding the stories to be excellent. Granted, this story was a little shorter than the last book, but I found myself glued to the pages once again! Today, Teebz's Book Club is proud to be reviewing The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup, written by Roy MacGregor and published by McClelland & Stewart. The cast of characters in this book has changed slightly, but Roy MacGregor's protagonist in Travis Lindsay carries another excellent story surrounding his hockey team. This story, however, is less about the team's play on the ice and more about its actions off the ice as they encounter a new problem to deal with and work through as the story progresses.

From the ScreechOwls Online website, Roy MacGregor has been involved in hockey all his life while growing up in Huntsville, Ontario. He competed for several years against a kid named Bobby Orr who was playing in nearby Parry Sound. He worked as a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen and is now a senior columnist for the National Post. He has written several classic hockey stories, including Home Game (written with Ken Dryden) and The Home Team, and many hockey books for younger readers such as A Loonie for Luck. He and his wife, Ellen, live in Kanata, Ontario. They have four children, Kerry, Christine, Jocelyn, and Gordon. He still plays old-timers hockey and has been a minor-hockey coach for more than a decade.

We met Travis Lindsay in the previous book, Mystery at Lake Placid, and Travis is back in this book. Joining him from the last book are defencemen Wayne "Nish" Nishikawa, Larry "Data" Ulmar, Norbert "Captain Video" Philpott, Willie Granger, and Wilson Kelly; forwards Dmitri Yakushev, Derek Dillinger, Fahd Noorizadeh, Gordie Griffith, and Jesse Highboy. Goaltenders Jennie Staples and Jeremy Weathers had replaced Boucher and Goupa, forwards Andy Higgins, Liz Moscovitz, and Chantal Larochelle were added, and Swedish defenceman Lars Johanssen made up the new kids on the team.

The Screech Owls arrive in Toronto for The Little Stanley Cup tournament, and things are going well early on as they meet and greet with the Maple Leafs, including Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour. Travis, however, noticed that new teammate Andy Higgins is acting a little strangely. Travis and his friends soon find out that Andy has a bit of a problem - he's a shoplifter!

Travis, as captain of the team, feels strongly that he should report Andy's actions to head coach Muck Munro, but can't bring himself to do it after Andy calls him a "wimp". While being conflicted, the team heads to the Hockey Hall of Fame where Travis encounters two individuals who seem to be taking a lot of pictures of non-hockey artifacts at the Hall of Fame like security cameras and elevator doors. Travis follows these men secretly, and learns of their plan to break into the Hall of Fame and steal the Stanley Cup!

With this information, Travis looks for Muck only to discover that he's in the gift shop where three players - Data, Wilson, and Fahd - were caught shoplifting! Three of the Screech Owls' most-trusted players were in serious trouble, and Travis suspected that Andy's influence may have had something to do with this new turn-of-events.

How would the Screech Owls compete with three of their players facing possible criminal charges? What would Andy do about Andy's penchant towards kleptomania? And what should Travis do about the two characters who were talking about breaking into the Hall of Fame to steal the Stanley Cup? Everything gets resolved by the end of the story, but there are some major twists along the way!
Travis shook his head. He knew Muck was talking about the Hockey Hall of Fame, and he had known nothing about it. But he did know about the other stealing, only it had involved others, not the three who were sent home, and Travis couldn't tell on Andy and Nish. He couldn't squeal. Not on his best friend.
There's a really good lesson in The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup that kids should learn, and Mr. MacGregor does an excellent job in teaching an important lesson in actions and consequences. I really enjoyed the second book in the Screech Owl series, but it is a little short for adult readers. The length of this book would be perfect for a roadtrip as it only took me a couple of hours to blast through the story. Mr. MacGregor's excellent writing, intelligent story, and fun characters made The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup a pleasure to read, and it certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval! It's a perfect book for a pre-teen or early teen reader in terms of its story and its length.

Look for the Screech Owls series at your local bookstore or library, starting with Mystery at Lake Placid followed by The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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