Saturday, 1 October 2016

TBC: One Night Only

I had some time to use up while riding on airplanes this week, and I find it's always best to let the time melt away by reading on a flight. Teebz's Book Club has had a few entries made to it thanks to flights, and I'm happy to add another that is both entertaining and informative! Teebz's Book Club is proud to review One Night Only, written by Ken Reid and published by ECW Press. Ken Reid takes us down memory lane as he tracks down 40 hockey players who played a single, solitary game in the NHL in their hockey careers, and gets those players' perspectives on the big night and what they've been doing since their lone appearance in The Show. If you've ever wondered what it's like to play one lone game in the NHL, there are forty men who agreed to let Ken Reid tell their story in One Night Only!

You might know Ken Reid as one-half of the Sportsnet Central anchor team along with Evanka Osmak. Reid grew up in Pictou, Nova Scotia and graduated from Pictou Academy before getting a shot at a local station in Dartmouth. After establishing himself as a credible play-by-play man for the junior A team, the station hired Reid to do a weekly news program where he was editor, videographer, and anchor! Reid moved to Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton before landing in Toronto where he worked with CP24, TSN and the NHL Network before landing a permanent gig with Sportsnet in 2011. Ken, his wife, and two boys live in Toronto. Teebz's Book Club also has reviewed his other book, Hockey Card Stories!

One Night Only takes a walk down memory lane where Ken Reid speaks to a number of hockey players who played all of one NHL game in their hockey careers. Most of these men are relatively obscure players thanks to the fact that they only played one game, but they all have had brushes with greatness such as Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Jacques Plante, and Wayne Gretzky. However, each of the players has a story that goes much further than one NHL game as some established long and prosperous careers in the minor-leagues and in Europe. Needless to say, the forty men featured in One Night Only have unique and amazing stories to tell about their moment in the spotlight, albeit a brief moment.

You might ask yourself why this would be a topic that Ken Reid wanted to examine, but the list shown on this Wikipedia page is extensive! Of the men found on that list, only four were lucky enough to record a goal in their NHL debuts/final games! There are some other trivia moments littered throughout the book as well, but Ken Reid took the time to track down the men who are part of trivia legend in Hockey Card Stories!

The one thing that impressed me as I read through Hockey Card Stories was the number of players who went back to school following their one-game appearance, most notably to CIS schools in Canada where they played hockey while getting an education! It's always nice to see the Canadian school system get a pat on the back in a big way.

One of my favorite sections of the book was entitled "All in the Family" where a number of players who have family ties to one another make an appearance. There are a couple of brothers who both played just a single game in the NHL, and there are two father-son combinations who could have made the book had the sons not played a second game. Instead, the fathers, one of whom is Darin Sceviour, made the book, and Darin tells Mr. Reid an excellent story about being a hockey parent and how his knowledge of playing the pro game really didn't benefit his son, current Florida Panthers forward Colton Sceviour, until he learned to be less involved.
Darin watched his son try to squeeze his way into the world's best hockey league. He was a hands-on hockey dad, with a very unique perspective. "At the beginning you try to give him what you think are constructive comments, but really, at the end of the day, it's not relevant to what their system is and what their teams are and it took me a couple of years to figure that out. I always thought I was one thing away from making it happen for him. But really there's a lot more going on behind the scenes and you don't realize when you're going through it how many layers and layers and layers there are. And one of the factors is luck. That's what a lot of people don't realize. There are some very, very skilled players I played with who never even got the opportunity that I did. The luck factor - I call it a lottery. You've got to be with the right team, at the right time, playing for the right coach, with a need in your position. And that's basically what goes into the lotto number combination for some people."
I'd say that Darin Sceviour's advice is something that should be painted on walls in arenas across the globe for many, many hockey parents to read. He's entirely right, and forty men in One Night Only can attest to the luck factor in their careers.

One Night Only is a very entertaining and informative book about thirty-nine men you've probably never heard of and one man who you almost certainly have. Ken Reid does an excellent job in painting the pictures of that one big night for each of these men, and his writing style flows nicely so that the book is easy to read. There are a couple of PG-rated words that the storytellers use, but none of those words are used just because they can. The book would certainly be appropriate for teenage readers and up, and I suspect that many of the stories told by these unknown men will resonate with readers long after they have finished reading the book. Because of this, One Night Only absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of One Night Only for this review, so I highly recommend ordering it through your favorite bookstore, website, or directly through the ECW Press website! The release date for One Night Only is October 2016, so look for it shortly in your local bookstore and library!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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