Hockey Headlines

Saturday, 11 April 2015

TBC: He Shoots, He Saves

School is coming to a close for those in university and college. It's nearing the end for those in grade school, and that means we're going to see a drop-off in the number of books being read by younger readers. Teebz's Book Club is going to make a serious push this summer to read as much as possible, and we'll start with today's review as the start of that push! Teebz's Book Club is proud to review He Shoots, He Saves, written by Jon Waldman and published by ECW Press! At first, I thought this might be a book on goalies, but after cracking the spine Mr. Waldman takes inside the world of hockey memorabilia collecting and some of the more interesting pieces that a fan of individual teams may want in their own collection!

As per his ECW Press biography, "Winnipeg's Jon Waldman is a veteran of more than a decade writing for newspapers, magazines and online publications. A Ryerson University journalism graduate, Jon's work has been featured in The Hockey News, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun, the Toronto Sun, Beckett Hockey, Winnipeg Men Magazine, and a host of other media. Jon is a three-time published author with ECW Press, with his latest title, He Shoots He Saves, hitting store shelves in February 2015. Jon's previous books include SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle and Got'em, Got'em, Need'em. When he isn't writing, Jon is a marketing and communications professional and works with numerous companies on their content strategies. In his spare time, Jon enjoys relaxing with his family, walking his dachshund, biking and stand-up paddle boarding."

He Shoots, He Saves takes a look at the various memorabilia that collectors have been seeking over the years and what makes it so valuable. Mr. Waldman also includes a pile of historical information on both teams in the NHL and memorabilia from other leagues and sources. While He Shoots, He Saves barely skims the tip of the iceberg of the memorabilia world, Mr. Waldman gives you a great start in evaluating your own collection and planning what you may want to add!

I really enjoyed the first portion of the book where Mr. Waldman looked at the various items collectors seek, and I have to say that his historical look at the history of the hockey card boom in the 1990s was fascinating. Goalie masks, jerseys, autographed memorabilia, pocket schedules, arena remnants, and more are all covered in the early portion of He Shoots, He Saves, and Mr. Waldman does an excellent job in breaking down why each of these items are valuable to those seeking them.

The second portion of He Shoots, He Saves deals with memorabilia for each team. Collectors who are looking for a bigger score will like this section as Mr. Waldman looks at one interesting piece of memorabilia, but may find themselves a bit disappointed in that there isn't more information regarding great collector pieces from each of the teams.

Another thing that struck me as odd is the historical write-up that Mr. Waldman includes for each team. Novice collectors may not know the history of a team like the Blackhawks or Red Wings, but the vast majority of experienced collectors and fans know the histories of the teams they are interested in for memorabilia purposes. While there are some interesting facts in these historical write-ups, I'm not sure that Mr. Waldman needed to include these histories without referencing collector pieces from the various eras in which these teams existed.

The last portion of He Shoots, He Saves speaks of the other leagues and events that rank highly on collectors' lists. These include the WHA, the Summit Series, the Olympics, IIHF tournaments, and the women's game. I honestly wish this section was more in-depth. There are probably hundreds of pieces of memorabilia that could be discussed here, but it was a short section. That being said, I'm sure Mr. Waldman could have an entirely new book if he spent a lot of time on this section!

I was particularly interested in the defunct franchises portion of He Shoots, He Saves. Mr. Waldman touches on some of the defunct franchises for which collectors still seek items, and it had all the potential to touch a chord with me. As you may know, I happen to have some jerseys that are no longer used by teams, but Mr. Waldman barely speaks of any of the memorabilia from these teams that are of particular interest to collectors. I'm not saying he missed the net here, but he didn't really take a shot either.

Overall, I believe that He Shoots, He Saves is meant for the novice hockey fan who is interested in amassing some interesting memorabilia without being heavily invested in hockey. Most collectors are hockey fans as they need to know specifics regarding years, eras, players, and teams, but He Shoots, He Saves has more history than team-specific memorabilia items in it.

The historical look at some of the pieces at the beginning of the book is well-worth the investment in the book, especially if you need a hockey card primer. There are definitely some things I was unaware of in terms of collectibles - hand-painted Chicago Blackhawks tiles? - that Mr. Waldman points out in the book, so if you're looking for that one specific team thing to make your collection complete, He Shoots, He Saves will help you out. Hockey fans that are well-versed in the game, though, might find the book a little lengthy due to the team histories included. I did enjoy the memorabilia aspects, though, and I'm going to award He Shoots, He Saves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find He Shoots, He Saves at your local bookstore or your local library now!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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