Veteran hockey journalists and broadcasters Bob McKenzie and Jim Lang return with their second volume of Everyday Hockey Heroes.
I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In the same style of the first volume, McKenzie and Lang bring you more stories of men and women who contribute to the game of hockey through several different avenues. We get stories of triumphant women like Katie Guay, the first woman to referee a professional men’s hockey game, and Emilie Castonguay, the NHL’s first female agent. McKenzie and Lang also shine a light on some of hockey’s not-so-great areas. For example, Joey Gale, a man who hid his sexuality during his early playing days for fear of repercussions brought on by the homophobia that often runs rampant inside locker rooms (don’t worry, his story has a happy ending). There’s also the inherent racism that lives with a predominantly white sport. Bob sits down with several black players who skated alongside MacKenzie when he was a young man and the obstacles they faced.
There’s some comedy in here as well. If you’ve ever seen the hilarious YouTube videos “Mason Mic’d Up”, Lang and MacKenzie sit down with Mason’s father Jeremy Rupke discussing his instructional hockey videos on YouTube and how he’s hoping to inspire folks to improve their skills on the ice. They also talk about Mason’s hilarious moments that led to him becoming a YouTube sensation.
The story that affected me the most was that of Jack Jablonski, a former player paralyzed after being pushed head-first into the boards from behind. In the face of overwhelming odds, Jake was able to remain positive while continuing to work toward improving his range of motion and ability. I’m not scared to say I had tears in my eyes when Jake made it back onto the ice, in his chair, as his team celebrated their championship victory later that season.
While I wasn’t big on the first volume, I found I enjoyed this second installment much more. I felt the stories were more touching and introspective this go around. Everyday Hockey Heroes Vol. 2 continues to bring more inspirational individuals to the forefront of hockey while entertaining and informing the reader of the many ways the game continues to excel.
Everyday Hockey Heroes: Volume Two is due for release on October 27, 2020