Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the Shelf, Part IV: Midnight Hockey

Iliopsoas is a fickle muscle, difficult to spell and even more difficult to determine when it’s ready for real action. Yesterday, I rode the exercise bike and then stretched, but iliopsoas is not ready for ice time. So while I’m still on the shelf from my early morning hockey games (my Capitals are doing just fine without me), so I give to you this review: a book about hockey (and beer).

Midnight Hockey: all about BEER, the BOYS, and the REAL CANADIAN GAME
By Bill Gaston

Like slamming back a few cold ones without any intermissions, I drank in this book in one sitting. A few year ago and in the passenger seat while the AMHL Photographer drove from St. John’s to Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, I laughed often as I became drunk on hockey.

Beer is what Gaston says is one of the “seductions that make the return to the rink an annual rite.” His book, written in a refreshing steady stream of consciousness, is not only a collection of his hockey memories, like playing in France, China, and Japan, but also a venue for venting his thoughts on hockey. Gaston offers colorful takes on everything from nicknames (Gaston answers to “Thrasher” and “Gasser”) to teams’ names (one of his favorites is Friends of Jesus). Gasser does so in the context of what may be his last season of oldtimers hockey. The defenseman pops in some goals and pops some tops with his pals, and the reader is left with a fantastic hockey hangover.

If you’re a hockey player, this book belongs on your shelf.
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