Hockey Talk: The Language of Hockey from A-Z. By John Goldner. (2010, Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Softcover. Pp. 103. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-55455-092-0.)
It’s that time of year hockey fans dread – summer and no hockey. Come August, the off-season news dwindles away and the days of keeping an eye on prospect camps, free agency trackers, and trade rumors come to a close. As you gear up for training camp and the new season, it is time to educate your non-hockey fan friends and family on one of the many reasons why you love the sport: the language of hockey
In Hockey Talk: The Language of Hockey from A-Z, John Goldner provided a great primer to introduce “hockey-speak” to the uninitiated. Although it was written with a younger audience in mind, anyone new to hockey would enjoy finding out what those little idiosyncrasies of hockey talk actually mean. Structured like a dictionary, the layout was handy to either read cover-to-cover or as a reference to look up something during a game.
There’s also a little something for the hockey history buff. Interspersed between alphabetical listings of words and phrases were brief biographies of some of the game’s best known announcers, including Foster Hewitt, namesake of the Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting and Danny Gallivan of Hockey Night in Canada who coined the term “spin-o-rama” (which is now an official entry in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary). In addition to Hewitt and Gallivan, you can find out more on:
- Gene Hart of the Philadephia Flyers
- Bob Cole and Howie Meeker of Hockey Night in Canada
- Don Cherry from Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner
- Fred Cusick of the Boston Bruins
- Mike Lange from the Pittsburgh Penguins
- Rene Lecavalier from the Montreal Canadiens
- RJ Jeanneret of the Buffalo Sabres
Throughout the book Ted Heeley’s illustrations demonstrated the terms while amusing readers with his quirky, comical style. Heeley also provided caricature sketches of the announcers. One of his more memorable sketches appeared with the entry for “sales job” where the player on the ice was shown as having two faces – one crying to the referee and one being snarky to the opposing team (Hockey Talk’s definition of “sales job”: when a player embellishes the effect of a foul, such as a high stick or an elbow to the head, in order to make sure the referee sees the infraction and calls a penalty).
Goldner took great care to ensure that all of his readers would be included in examples. He used both male and female pronouns, being inclusive of all hockey players. He also brought in some trivia to further demonstrate his definitions. For example, he used the “Dynamic Duo” tandem of Tim Horton and Alan Stanley of the Toronto Maple Leafs to illustrate using the phrase “back end” to define a defensive pairing.
Even for a seasoned hockey fan, this book is fun to read and contains some interesting tidbits of information, such as: Who was awarded the first ever penalty shot? Armand Mondou of the Canadiens on November 10, 1934, which was promptly followed by the first penalty shot save by the Maple Leafs’ goaltender George Hainsworth. It is a short book, reads fast, and will leave even the hockey novice ready for the puck to drop.