Book Review: Next Goal Wins, NHL Trivia

Next Goal Wins!: The Ultimate NHL Historian’s One-of-a-Kind Collection of Hockey Trivia  By Liam Maguire, with a foreword by Wayne Gretzky.  (2012, Toronto: Random House Canada. Softcover. Pp. 227. $19.50 US / $22.95 CAN. ISBN 978-0-307-36340-4.)

Next Goal Wins by Liam Maguire
Next Goal Wins by Liam Maguire

Everything you ever wanted to know about hockey trivia but did not know what to ask – that is an accurate description of Liam Maguire’s Next Goal Wins. Maguire is considered Canada’s unofficial hockey trivia expert – it is possible you have seen him as he’s made over 2,500 personal appearances in addition to popping into the occasional local watering hole in one of his “NHL Trivia Expert” custom jerseys.

Next Goal Wins is filled with both general trivia and the most obscure facts about professional hockey, mostly focused on the NHL. In addition to the foreword by Wayne Gretzky, Maguire fills the pages with story after story about some of the most interesting events to occur during the past 95 years of hockey.

He starts readers out easy with 30 questions about the 30 existing teams (as of the 2011-12 season). He also devotes an entire chapter to “Defunct Team Trivia.” Maguire took great care to include information on teams before they moved to new cities, i.e. the NorthStars, (original) Jets, Whalers, and Nordiques. However, he completely omitted the Atlanta Thrashers.

Maguire wrapped up the book with a chapter devoted to why he believes Paul Henderson deserves to be in the NHL Hall of Fame. His argument makes the reader wonder why Henderson has not been inducted yet, especially since Vladislav Tretiak (the Russian goaltender for the Summit Series) was inducted without ever playing a game in the NHL. He’s in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in May of this year, but the NHL honor continues to elude him.

So, what can you expect to learn from Next Goal Wins?

  • What year was the Stanley Cup final series a victim of Spanish Influenza (and no Cup awarded)?
  • How did Stan Mikita score his first official goal in the NHL?
  • Who took two penalty shots each for two different teams in the same season?
  • What team had the first European-born and -raised captain and what was his name?
  • Who holds the NHL record for the most fights in one game?

Reading the book cover-to-cover can be a little tedious, but Next Goal Wins is likely to be a handy reference for those looking for a large amount of NHL trivia in one place.

Rebecca Dobrinski