Worthy reads for the holidays

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

If you're a hockey lover at Christmas, chances are that you will do one of the following:

Spend a week's pay for two NHL tickets or an authentic team jersey.

Fork out for new hockey skates or other gear for the kids.

Be up all night on the 24th assembling a net or all day on the 26th trying to return it.

Spend your holidays driving to tournaments.

It's a wonder we're not disillusioned at year's end with "our game" but this also is a perfect time to reconnect with hockey, play shinny, watch the world junior on TV and cap the day with a hot drink and a good read on the subject.

Here's our starting lineup of hockey books, from Martin St. Louis-sized stocking stuffers to Zdeno Chara coffee table monsters:

- How Hockey Happened, A Pictorial History of the Origins of Canada's National Winter Game

J. W. (Bill) Fitsell

$29.95, Quarry Press, 154 pages

One of the founders of the Society for International Hockey Research, Fitsell gives a fascinating look into how the game evolved from many different influences.

- By The Numbers, From 00 to 99

Scott Morrison

$32.95 Key Porter, 232 pages

Tells the story behind the numbers, who wore what and why, and ranks a top 10 where applicable. Did you know Rick Dudley once wore 99 and can you name even one of the 10 NHLers who've skated as a 63?

- Sidney Crosby, Taking The Game By Storm

Gare Joyce

$16.95 Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 249 pages

Now almost three years into his NHL career, an in-depth look at Crosby the player and the ripple effect of his arrival in the NHL, junior hockey, the international game and the business world.

- Gretzky to Lemieux, The Story of the 1987 Canada Cup

Ed Willes

$34.99 McClelland and Stewart, 241 pages

Can it really be 20 years? The last great roar of the Russian bear against arguably the best Canadian team ever. A concise re-cap of the thrilling final, as well as the politics of the tournament, the chemistry of both finalists and a stats pack.

- King Of Russia, A Year In The Russian Super League

Dave King, with Eric Duhatschek

McClelland and Stewart, 250 pages

Russia has opened up to the West, but mystery still surrounds its premier hockey league and why many NHLers are willing to play there. In diary form, the ex-NHL and Canadian national team coach King gets more than he bargained for behind the bench of Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.

- Shorthanded, The Untold Story Of The Seals, Hockey's Most Colourful Team

Brad Kurtzberg

Price N/A, Authorhouse, 319 pages

Hockey historian Kurtzberg examines the rise and fall of the zany expansion team with their white skates and loud uniforms, giving them the Brooklyn Dodgers' treatment. Well researched, with updates on where the retired Seals are today.

- Star Power, The Legend And Lore Of Cyclone Taylor

Eric Zweig

$9.95, Lorimer, 104 pages

Young hockey fans can learn about one of the great stars of the turn of the century, a whirlwind skater who played for the Vancouver Millionaires and the original Ottawa Senators. Also in the same vein by Zweig is Long Shot, the story of the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons winning the first Olympic gold medal.

- Pink Power, The First Women's World Hockey Championships

Lorna Schultz Nicholson

$9.95, Lorimer, 124 pages

Another good read for the younger set by the wife of Hockey Canada executive Bob Nicholson.

- The New Game, How Hockey Saved Itself

Steve Paikin

$35, Viking/Penguin, 278 pages

Outlines how Brendan Shanahan and others helped forge the 'new' NHL from the ashes of the lockout.

- Walking With Legends, The True Stories Of Hockey Night In Canada

Ralph Mellanby with Mike Brophy

$32.95 Fenn, 236 pages

- Future Greats And Heartbreaks, A Season Undercover In The Secret World Of NHL Scouts.

Gare Joyce

$29.95 Doubleday, 336 pages

- As The Puck Turns

Brian Conacher

$32.99 Wiley, 304 pages

- The Complete Hockey Dictionary

Andrew Podnieks

$24.95 Fenn, 247 pages

- McCown's Law, 100 Great Hockey Arguments

Bob McCown and David Naylor

$19.95, Doubleday, 336 pages

- The Hockey News Top 60 Since '67

Ken Campbell and Adam Proteau

$24.95 Transcontinental, 226 pages, Star Power

- Growing up hockey

Brian Kennedy

$19.95 Folklore, 264 pages


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