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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

TBC: The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks

Many players and personnel from the Chicago Blackhawks have been celebrating their day with the Stanley Cup thus far, and there are still some good times to be had. But there was a long season that the Blackhawks completed before being crowned as the Stanley Cup champions, and the highlights of the season along with some history are contained within a new book I had the opportunity to review. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks, written by Andrew Podnieks and published by Fenn/McClelland & Stewart. There was a lot of hard work and sacrifice made by the members of the Chicago Blackhawks in order to ascend to the apex of the sport, and this book highlights all of the moments that the Blackhawks put in this season to be crowned as hockey's best.

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.

Mr. Podnieks has captured the Blackhawks' championship season beautifully in both words and pictures in The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks. Included are the stories of how the Blackhawks were founded, some highlights of their history, a brief section about the two arenas that the Blackhawks have called home in their history, and, of course, the highlights of the season and their playoff run.

Being that this is an annual publication with Chicago's story being the fourth in this series, there are a number of similarities to last year's edition, The Year of the Los Angeles Kings, which was reviewed right here on HBIC. Each game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that featured the Blackhawks is recapped with a matching photo, and Mr. Podnieks' write-up for each game brings forth the drama and intrigue from that individual game. Included in the book are full player biographies, a history of the award winners and draft picks for the Blackhawks, a brief reminder of the Bridgestone Winter Classic that the Red Wings and Blackhawks participated in at Wrigley Field, and other historical tidbits. In short, if you're a Blackhawks fan, this book has everything for you!

Mr. Podnieks brings forth all the highlights of a magical season by the Blackhawks in his writing. The one thing that was missing, I feel, when comparing The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks to the previous editions of this series were the historical photos. There are some great images contained within the covers, but there was nothing that stood out in terms of a notable photo that I hadn't seen. While the writing is superb and the photos accompanying each write-up are appropriate, I felt there was a distinct lack of historical photos that could have elevated this book to a new level.

While the lack of historical photos is something I'd consider as an error, it is a minor quibble when you consider the excellent writing done by Mr. Podnieks. The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks leaves nothing out when highlighting the important moments from this year's playoffs, and the rest of the historical information should satiate any amateur hockey historian's appetite for knowledge. Because of the excellent work put into this book by Mr. Podnieks, The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

If you'd like a copy of this, HBIC has an opportunity for you! Tomorrow on The Hockey Show hosted by Teebz and Beans at 5:30pm on 101.5 UMFM, we'll be giving a copy of this book away to a lucky caller! We'll have a trivia question for you about the Chicago Blackhawks, and if you call in with the correct answer, we'll have Random House Publishers send you a copy of this book! How cool is that? Listen in tomorrow, and we'll give away a copy of The Year of the Chicago Blackhawks to a lucky listener!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

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