Friday, 26 February 2021

TBC: One To Remember

I'm not going to pretend that there was ever a single solitary moment that I'd score an NHL goal. I knew it wasn't in the cards for me, but that didn't mean I couldn't imagine what it was like. There are lots of players who fall to the wayside for a number of reasons who never score an NHL goal, but to get one goal at the NHL level is a special moment. Today, Teebz's Book Club is proud to review One to Remember: Stories from 39 Members of the NHL's One Goal Club, written by Ken Reid and published by ECW Press. 39 former professional hockey players share their stories about the one moment when the spotlight was on them as their names were written in ink on the NHL scoresheet for the only time in their careers, and it's a heckuva read when you consider everything these men went through in order to make that moment happen!

I needed to update the Ken Reid biography from the previous books he wrote, so I went and found Ken Reid in disguise for the picture! Jokes aside, the book's jacket reads, "Ken is the co-anchor of the weeknight prime time edition of Sportsnet Central on Sportsnet. He has covered the Olympics, the Super Bowl, multiple Grey Cups, and has appeared on Hockey Night in Canada. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons." On top of those accolades in Ken's career, he was often seen on Tim & Sid, and is a successful author with a number of books to his name including a few that have been reviewed here such as Hockey Card Stories, One Night Only, Dennis Maruk, and Hockey Card Stories 2!

One to Remember is a story of sacrifices, struggles, overcoming the odds, and finally putting one's name in the books in the story called hockey. Reid speaks with 39 players who fought, battled, and chased a dream to play in the NHL and to score at the NHL level only to see that goal total stop at one single goal. However, each of the 39 men interviewed by Reid has a unique story on how their goals happened - deflections, slapshots from the boards, goalie goals, one-timers, snipes that went bar down - in this rather entertaining book!

What makes each of the stories unique is that the 39 men all took different routes to scoring that first NHL goal. A lot of the stories in One to Remember are about toiling in the minor leagues while waiting for that big break, but Reid breaks his book down into chapters that find similarities between the 39 stories such as "Family Ties", "The Wrong Era", and "Higher Education". As stated above, each story is unique, and these stories reveal that there are a number of paths to realizing an NHL dream.

What shouldn't be forgotten, however, is that each of the men in One to Remember worked hard at every level of hockey they played as they waited for their big break to get a shot on NHL ice. As an example, Alain Nasreddine's first NHL goal came at the age of 31, not at 19, 20, or 21 years of age, so it shouldn't be forgotten that the effort to make the NHL isn't based on draft status or point totals. Working hard at every hockey level for each of the 39 men in the stories paid off more than the point totals they accumulated or the highlight reels on which they appeared. It's a good lesson to keep in mind for every hockey player at every level.

One of my favorite chapters in One to Remember are the goalie goals because of how rarely they happen. Having been lucky enough to see him play in person, there's a story from former NHL goalie Chris Mason in the book from his moment with the Nashville Predators when he scored. I won't reveal the story, but there is a neat note that Reid includes in his section. It reads,
"Five years earlier in an American Hockey League game, Mason scored a goal for the Milwaukee Admirals against the Utah Grizzlies. And just like his NHL goal, his AHL goal was not a classic either. It was the same type of play."
Reading that had me scouring Youtube for a glimpse of this goal, but it also makes him the lone goalie to score in both the AHL and the NHL. There have been other goalies who have scored in two different leagues, but Mason is the only one to do it in both of those leagues. And he tells the story of his NHL goal in One to Remember!

Overall, One to Remember is a great book about 39 players whose cup of coffee saw them reach a dream each of them had in scoring an NHL goal. While it was certainly a thrill for all of them to play in the NHL, the excitement and pride each take in their NHL goals differs but all of them are exceptionally grateful for the moment. In hearing their stories of hard work and stick-to-it-ness, though, Reid gives readers a good sense of how hard it is just to make it to the NHL, let alone scoring, and that can't be ignored as the overall arc in each of the 39 stories. Because of this, One to Remember is entirely deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

There are a few moments of adult-based language in One to Remember when the players are telling their stories, so this book would be recommended for teens and older based on the PG-rating for the salty language. That being said, a lot of these players are older so it may be better for adult hockey fans to pick this book up due to the age of the players Ken Reid interviewed. What shouldn't be lost on anyone, though, is that the hard-work message by each of the players should apply to every up-and-coming hockey player! Look for One to Remember at your local bookstore or library!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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