No One Wins Alone

No One Wins Alone – Mark Messier (with Jimmy Roberts)

No One Wins Alone is the memoir of superstar NHL player, Mark Messier.

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A few years ago, I told myself I would stop reading player memoirs and shift solely to books written about hockey by either journalists or sports writers. I made this decision after having read a handful of extremely dull books co-written by superstar players who either an image to maintain or had led an uninteresting career off the ice.

I am not sure why, but when I saw that Mark Messier had a book due out in the fall celebrating his nearly 25 year career, I decided to go back on my word – just this one time. This was a mistake. Not only has Mark led a nearly squeaky-clean life, but this book also doubles as a leadership manifesto on how to inspire others to do their best in life and their career. I should have expected this given the book’s title and Messier having a yearly NHL award given to the player who best exemplifies on-ice leadership.

Look, I’m not faulting Mark for leading a life and career without controversy. I myself am about as dangerous as a warm blanket out of the dryer, but I wouldn’t read a book about my life either. That said, there are a few interesting parts in the book that mostly detail the rise and subsequent dynasty of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. One of the moments that will stick with me involved the aftermath of the Oilers’ loss to the New York Islanders, a team that had just won their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup in 1983. Messier walked past their dressing room, expecting to hear celebrating but saw the team of grizzled veterans sitting in relative silence drinking beer and icing their injuries. Messier noted that being as successful as the Islanders were for as long as they had been came with a price.

The book also looks at his trade to the New York Rangers in the early 90s, his ill-fated run with the Canucks a few years later and his return to the Rangers before his retirement at age forty-three. I honestly didn’t get a whole lot out of the latter half of the book.

It goes without saying that Messier is a class act and is beloved by the hockey world (unless you’re a Canucks fan), but this book failed to captivate me and felt more like a chore near the end.

No One Wins Alone is scheduled for release on October 5th from Simon & Schuster Canada.

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