Despite hockey initially being an outlet mainly for his children, Charns recounts his wife's (he refers to her as Tucker throughout) compulsion to skate after watching their son brim with satisfaction from scoring a goal in a game. Tucker yearned for that same feeling, spurring her full-hearted commitment to the sport and kickstarting some healthy family competition. Charns, who started playing hockey in his 40s, comically shares his angst at losing to Tucker’s team alongside his respect for their shared family hobbies: “Play together, stay together” he writes. His love of the game is evident throughout, particularly when recounting his disappointment at the need to stop coaching his son’s team after a medical crisis.
Charns does more than sing hockey’s praises—he delves into the sometimes painful dynamics of his childhood (an alcoholic father and hypervigilant mother) and his own adult struggles with mental health, but touchingly circles back to how spirited competition on the ice has helped him find peace and healing. He sprinkles in welcome wit, including an aside on Mattel finally making a realistic hockey Barbie in 2020 and a pitch for women’s “constitutional right” to swear as much as men in the rink. Hockey fans will be delighted.
Takeaway: An entertaining tribute to the power of hockey as a path to peace and happiness.
Great for fans of: Jerry Hack’s Memoir of a Hockey Nobody, Angela Ruggiero’s Breaking the Ice.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-