In professional hockey, enforcers are often as popular with fans as the stars who cash the big paycheques. Called upon to duke it out with a fellow troublemaker, or to shadow (and bruise) an opponent’s top scorer, these men get the crowds out of their seats, the sports-radio shows buzzing, and the TV audience spilling their beers in excitement. Don’t Call Me Goon gives the mayhem-makers their due by sharing their overlooked stories and contributions to the game. Drawing on a wealth of knowledge, research, and interviews, Oliver and Kamchen highlight the players who have perfected the art of on-ice enforcing from old timers like Joe Hall and Red Horner; to legendary heavy-hitters like Tiger Williams, Stu Grimson, and Bob Probert; to fan favourites like Tie Domi and Georges Laraque; and contemporaries like Arron Asham and Brian McGrattan. Don’t Call Me Goon also explores the issues that plague the NHL’s bad boys suspensions, concussions, controversy and looks ahead to the future of tough guys in the fastest game on ice.
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Greg Oliver is the author of Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons, Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Tag Teams, and Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. He lives in Toronto. Richard Kamchen is a freelance writer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.From Booklist:
For many years, the casual fan associated professional hockey with endless, bench-clearing brawls between guys with missing teeth. Recently, though, the National Hockey League, seeing the success of no-fight Olympic hockey in attracting new fans to the sport, has minimized fighting among its players. But many of the hockey’s legends and best-known personalities through the years have been its enforcers. Oliver and Kamchen did the research and the interviews, leading to such descriptions as, “He had huge balls: he’d fight anybody, anytime.” One theme that recurs time and again is that of the less-talented player who makes the team and eventually has a career because he was willing to “mix it up.” For example, John Wensink was such a terrible skater that his coach, the legendary Don Cherry, joked that he considered buying him a pair of double-runners. One memorable fight landed Wensink’s victim in the hospital and earned Wensink a visit from the police. Some of the anecdotes are funny; others, like the beating Wensink administered, not so much. But hockey’s tough guys are part of the sport’s history, and the authors tell it well. --Wes Lukowsky
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