Friday, 22 February 2008

TBC: Cold-Cocked: On Hockey

Teebz's Book Club is proud to present another piece of hockey literature today. This review is a little later than I had anticipated, but the book itself has resonated with me as it draws comparisons with everyday happenings in life with the game of hockey. I am proud to bring to you Lorna Jackson's Cold-Cocked: On Hockey. Miss Jackson is the first female writer to be featured in Teebz's Book Club, but she certainly won't be the last, especially if writers of the fairer sex write as passionately about hockey as Miss Jackson does. While she speaks of all things concerning her life - births, deaths, a wonky knee, some popping ribs, her daughter, her husband, her childhood, and much more - it always ties back into hockey, specifically her passion for the Vancouver Canucks.

Miss Jackson's story is a revealing look at her struggles in life, and how her team struggles on the ice to claim the Stanley Cup. While the two stories interconnect and play off one another, hockey seems to be a prevalent theme in her life. Whether it was watching the Bruins play the Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada in the 1960s with her father - Sanderson vs. Beliveau - or spending time at Canucks games with her daughter, Miss Jackson has a unique perspective of the game itself.

She is entirely devoted to two Canucks stars in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund capture her attention like no else. Trevor Linden gets some lip service. Dan Cloutier and his injury at the end of the 2002-03 season make the story as she relates to his injury. Her daughter, Lily, adores Ed Jovanovski like a schoolgirl crush. All of this adds to the empathy the reader feels as Miss Jackson watches her team rise and fall over the course of a season.

However, it's the writing that really comes through in this book. I'll admit it: I don't read books found on Oprah's Book Club mainly because they are geared for a more feminine audience. NHL writers speak of the Original Six teams and how great they were, harkening us to skate in the skates of Orr, Beliveau, Lafleur, Hull, and Dryden with each word they put on paper. Miss Jackson shatters that pre-conceived idea with one poignant paragraph:

"The NHL machine ignores people like me, women who abhor the easy cliché, the hypermasculine rhetoric. Okay, they build arenas that resemble shopping malls for us. Oh, and kudos, boys, for the ridiculous girlie replica jerseys with the figure-flattering cut and raglan sleeves so we can pretend to have boobs like Shania Twain. I don’t want to be Markus Naslund and I don’t want to shop."

Having suffered through several personal ordeals, Miss Jackson lost interest in hockey. However, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics re-ignited the passion inside her. Watching grown men cry and bring out their kids and babies while having teammates video-tape them as they received their gold medals changed her outlook on the "warriors" that play the game. She fell in love with hockey again, and became a true fan once more.

If there is anything that this book does, it shifts the perspective of the reader in interpreting the authors as hockey historian to hockey fan. Miss Jackson clearly understand the game as well as anyone else, and realizes that women have always played a large part in the popularity of hockey, stating this in the book.

Her view on the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident is also talked about in the book, and provides a different perspective on the entire ordeal. It is this difference of perspective that should be encouraged and cultivated within the game itself, breaking the ranks of the NHL's "Old Boys Club" to include women of all ages.

Overall, I recommend Cold-Cocked: On Hockey to all hockey fans, specifically because of Miss Jackson's views and commentary on the game. It is an enjoyable read, and has definitely given me a new idea on how to view the game itself. Cold-Cocked: On Hockey by Lorna Jackson has certainly earned the Teebz's Book Club Seal Of Approval, and will be recommended by this author to all hockey fans, both men and women alike!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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