J.P. Bickell: The Life, the Leafs, and the Legacy
He stayed out of the spotlight, but Leafs fans know J.P. Bickell cast a long shadow.
A self-made mining magnate and the man who kept the Maple Leafs in Toronto and financed Maple Leaf Gardens, J.P. Bickell lived an extraordinary and purposeful life. As one of the most important industrialists in Canadian history, Bickell left his mark on communities across the nation. He was a cornerstone of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which awards the J.P. Bickell Memorial Award to recognize outstanding service to the organization.
Bickell’s story is also tied up with some of the most famous Canadians of his day, including Mitchell Hepburn, Roy Thomson, and Conn Smythe. Through his charitable foundation, he has been a key benefactor of the Hospital for Sick Children, and his legacy continues to transform Toronto. Yet, though Bickell was so important both to Toronto and the Maple Leafs, the story of his incredible life is today largely obscure. This book sets the record straight, presenting the definitive story of his rise to prominence and his lasting legacy — on the ice and off.
I have to admit this one surprised me. Why would I, a western Canadian hockey fan, care about the businessman who financed Conn Smythe’s Toronto Maple Leafs? That was how many years ago? And, ugh, yet another Leafs book, and this one about some guy no one has ever heard of? But J.P. Bickell: The Life, The Leafs and the Legacy is a fascinating read. As it turns out, this is not a hockey book so much as a Canadian history book. It just so happens that J.P. Bickell was an incredibly important figure and continues to be many years after his death. This isn’t just another Leafs book. Far from it. – Hockeybookreviews.com
Many people think Conn Smythe was the grandfather of the Leafs, but they wouldn’t have got very far without John Paris Bickell, whose name is on the Cup six times with Toronto. – Toronto Sun
A Great Day for Hockey: The Pittsburgh Penguins 1967-2017
The Pittsburgh Penguins made their National Hockey League debut on October 11, 1967, losing to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in the expansion franchise’s home opener. The Penguins started slowly, with a tumultuous stretch of uncertainty throughout the 1970s and into the early ‘80s, but a major turning point came in 1984 that would ensure the future of hockey in Pittsburgh: the Penguins drafted Mario Lemieux first overall in that year’s NHL Entry Draft. Supported by an all-star cast including several future Hall of Famers, the Penguins became first-time Stanley Cup champions in 1991, and repeated the feat as Cup defenders in 1992. With Mario leading the way, winning quickly became a tradition in Pittsburgh.
Fast forward to 2006, and the torch was past from Mario Lemieux to Sidney Crosby and a new cast of supporting talent. The new lineup wasted little time carrying on the tradition, as Sid and company reached the Cup Final in 2008, won the franchise’s third Cup in 2009, regularly competed over the next 5 years, took home the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup championship in 2015 and celebrated with the Stanley Cup again in 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 50th anniversary.
‘A Great Day For Hockey: the Pittsburgh Penguins 1967-2017 chronicles the peaks and the valleys of the 50-year history of the Penguins, and celebrates the great moments and the great players who formed the fabric of this team.
The Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club: Official Centennial Publication, 1917-2017
Published in partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs and officially licensed by the NHL, this is the one and only official Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial publication!
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most storied franchises in all of sport and without question — the most recognized team in all of hockey. Through this journey of a hundred years of Maple Leaf hockey, fans will read of ups and downs, triumphs and tears, laughter and laments. This publication tells the Leafs’ complete history and introduces fans to coaches, as well as such legends as: Apps and Armstrong, Kennedy and Keon, Broda and Bower, Salming and Sundin, but also players who wore the Blue and White and left far more modest legacies. It takes fans to Toronto’s first game, the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens and subsequent move to the Air Canada Centre. It celebrates Toronto’s Stanley Cups and Hall of Fame players and demonstrates that through each exciting season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have forever remained our team and enjoyed the incredibly loyal support of a nation of fans.
Published in complete partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs and released as the Leafs enter their 100th season, this official centennial publication includes contributions from many of the biggest names in Leaf history. Author Kevin Shea gained unprecedented access to players — past and present — as well as team executives to offer this book the most compelling, informed, and accurate portrayal of Toronto’s historic hockey team and their important place in both the world of hockey and the culture of Canada. Combined with incredible archival photographs and a truly incredible design, this is the definitive and must have book for fans of the Blue and White.
Larry Robinson: The Great Defender
Legendary Canadien and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Larry Robinson takes readers rink-side in this highly anticipated and poignantly told memoir.
Larry Robinson spent 20 seasons playing in the NHL — seventeen with the Montreal Canadiens and retiring from the game after his final 3 seasons with the LA Kings. His great size gave his teams an incredible presence on the blue line and a tremendous defender in front of their net. But he was more than just big. He was agile, he could score and he played a style that provided both offensive and defensive strengths.
For his effort, Robinson was twice recognized as the NHL’s top defencemen and his contribution helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup six times during his tenure with the team. Never afraid to drop his gloves and play a physical game, Robinson is and will forever be regarded as one of the NHL’s greatest defencemen.
In The Great Defender, Robinson relives his road to the NHL and the unexpected NHL journey that has lasted over 4 decades. He has enjoyed the good fortune of playing with greats, including Ken Dryden and Guy Lafleur to coaching the greatest of all–Wayne Gretzky. His successes as a player and coach are well-documented and in his memoir, hockey fans will now enjoy the opportunity to experience the odyssey of this legendary player as seen through his eyes, lived through his emotions, and told through his voice. Robinson’s story is one of triumph and will leave readers cheering for the man fondly nicknamed “Big Bird.”
In the process of writing this book, bestselling sports writer Kevin Shea interviewed many of Robinson’s teammates, colleagues, players and family members and spent countless hours with Larry himself to capture a fascinating picture of one of hockey’s greatest careers.
Crossing The Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original
Derek Sanderson was a key player with the Big Bad Bruins in the 1970s. At one point the highest-paid athlete in the world, Sanderson played with and against the era’s legends, winning two Stanley Cups and assisting on Bobby Orr’s famous diving goal in 1970. Off the ice, ‘Turk’ was one of a kind. He drove a burgundy Rolls-Royce, wore a fox coat and, when asked what winning the Stanley Cup meant to him said, “The difference in the money is whether I take a college chick to Cape Cod or a Playmate to France.” But behind the glory, Sanderson was an alcoholic and an addict. He bottomed out, losing it all, and ended up sleeping under bridges. At one point, he was so sick, he had to use crutches to walk. Crossing the Line is about Sanderson’s crazy days as a player but also about his road back to health. Sanderson has spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people about the dangers of his former lifestyle and now helps young athletes and others to avoid the pitfalls of instant fame. Sanderson does not hold back in this highly entertaining and truly inspirational book.
The nearly 400-page book, co-authored by Kevin Shea, is a compelling read; often riotous and frightening and sickening with the turn of a few pages. Where many professional athletes barely out of their teens believe they’ve lived a life worth exploring in an autobiography, Sanderson’s story is truly deserving of such study.
– Montreal Gazette
Sanderson enlisted the writing expertise of veteran writer Kevin Shea for this autobiography. It was an excellent choice. Shea nicely finds Sanderson’s genuine voice and presents him exactly as he really is — as a good guy with an unbelievable story to tell. It’s books like this where I’m truly amazed at the writer’s ability. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear all Shea did was transcribe his story. Of course, Shea did a heck of lot more than that, but reading the book makes me feel like I’m just listening to “Turk” telling his story. Amazing job.
H is for Hockey
“Where was the first organized indoor hockey game played? When did the tradition of engraving winners’ names on the Stanley Cup start? Which six brothers collectively played in more than 5,000 NHL games? Answers to these questions and many more can be found in H is for Hockey: An NHL Alumni Alphabet. Formed in 1999, the National Hockey League Alumni Association is affectionately known as “Hockey’s Greatest Family” for good reason. Members of the NHL Alumni are considered hockey ambassadors, supporting the game and its history through many charitable causes and programs. Written by one of the game’s foremost historians, this book pays tribute to them and the sport they love. Adding a personal touch are the memorable quotes sprinkled throughout the text. When 17-year-old Sidney Crosby was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005, he said, “This is amazing. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices. It’s unbelievable!””
Hockey Hall of Fame: MVP Trophies and Winners
MVP Trophies and Winners is the MVP of hockey books. (Indigo) Duff and Shea provide a thorough background for these awards. They then provide short biographies and crisp photos of the winners of the three principal trophies. The tone is enthusiastic, and the book runneth over with facts and lore. Any hockey fan will revel in these profiles of most valuable players. – Kirkus Reviews
Interesting details about award controversies, background about how the trophies were named, gripes from spurned players, and collector card-type photos make the book fun to read. – Voya
Toronto Maple Leafs: Diary of a Dynasty, 1957--1967
Toronto Maple Leafs: Diary of a Dynasty, 1957-1967 chronicles those wonderful seasons when the Toronto Maple Leafs skyrocketed from last place in the NHL to become the powerhouse team of the decade. During the 1950s and 60s the Leafs were always a contender and won the Stanley Cup in three consecutive years (1962-1964), along with an improbable Stanley Cup victory over their archrival, the Montreal Canadiens, in 1967 to close out the era of the original six NHL teams.
Of the many books written on the Leafs, this one is unique: Kevin Shea and his writing partners revisit all the important games and moments from each season with astonishing detail based on the broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada from that decade. There are authentic calls from the broadcast booth, Hot Stove Lounge conversations and detailed descriptions of game-changing goals and late-game heroics that have been obscured by the passage of time — and the performance of the weaker teams that have followed.
Along with unearthed, never-before released interviews from dynasty players, such as Johnny Bower, Dave Keon and George Armstrong to name only a few, the authors reconstruct Toronto’s dynasty years with professional accuracy, authenticity and care.
This big book will be dear to the heart of every Maple Leaf fan — a nostalgic journey through hockey history and thus into the history of modern Canada itself.
The authors and researchers reconstruct the Leafs dynasty years from 1957 through 1967 with the same exhaustive attention to detail and the obvious passion of an archaeologist unearthing a great find. Leafs fans, and hockey fans of that era, will definitely appreciate this book. It is an encyclopedic history of hockey from 1957 through 1967, but Shea writes it with a passion – almost an innocence – of a fan experiencing it for the first time. It is a tremendous celebration of the team and, most importantly, a tribute to the Leafs’ eternal heroes. – Hockey Book Reviews
If you get too wistful for the Leafs’ bygone glory days, Kevin Shea’s latest book will give your morale a boast. – Open Book Toronto
Vividly recalling a glorious decade in the team’s history. Yes, there was one. – Montreal Gazette
A fat history of the Leafs that helps to explain why there’s such a fuss. – Waterloo Region Record
Summer with Stanley
One of the highlights for Stanley Cup champions is to be able to celebrate for a day with Lord Stanley’s Cup. ‘SUMMER WITH STANLEY’ chronicles the travels with each of the Pittsburgh Penguins through the summer of 2009, from the locker room to the victory parade, from Canada to Russia and beyond. Readers get an insider’s view of the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and hockey’s most coveted trophy in ‘SUMMER WITH STANLEY,’ featuring glossy, full colour photos and exclusive stories.
St. Michael's College: 100 Years Of Pucks And Prayers
If Notre Dame is the most storied breeding ground for professional football, then St. Michael’s College certainly holds the same distinction in hockey. From the grassroots beginnings of the hockey program in 1906 through to today, more than 180 students from St. Mikes have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. This comprehensive history of hockey at St. Michael’s College School, located in Toronto, will take readers through one hundred years of extraordinary memories: triumphs, tears, perspiration, and inspiration of one of the most exciting hockey programs in the world. Extensively researched, the book weaves into the narrative the personal recollections of some of the greatest players ever to pull on the Double Blue of St. Mike’s: Gerry Cheevers, Father Les Costello, Murray Costello, Dick Duff, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, David Keon, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Cesare Maniago, Jim McKenny, Mark Osbourne and Kevin Weekes are just some of those who have lovingly provided their stories about St. Michael’s and the impact it had on their lives, both professionally and personally. It truly is a remarkable story and a remarkable achievement. Whether the name St. Mike’s is familiar or not; whether the term ‘double blue’ stirs up any memories or draws a blank, this school and program is responsible for producing many of the game’s greatest names and for influencing the sport of hockey. This book will appeal to anyone that has ever dreamed of someday playing in the NHL or anyone that enjoys following the sport.
‘St. Michael’s College: 100 Years of Pucks and Prayers’ by Kevin Shea with Larry Colle and Paul Patskou is a painstaking history, loaded with photos and details, memories arranged era by era. Former students would be particularly pleased to have a copy on their bookshelves.
– Toronto Star
This is expertly researched and documented and well illustrated, giving readers a first glimpse into the careers of some of the game’s legendary names, like Ted Lindsay, Tim Horton, Gerry Cheevers, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich and Joe Primeau.
– New York Times
The Majors have a long and illustrious history in junior hockey. Kevin Shea has chronicled the teams past in a book that would also look great under the Christmas tree this year. Working with Larry Colle and Paul Patskou Shea has penned ‘St Michael’s College 100 years of Pucks and Prayers.’
Anyone familiar with Kevin Shea’s work knows this book will be as thorough as can be. He has the reputation as one of the best researchers in the hockey writing community. What I really like about his St. Michael’s offering is he gives a lot of space to not only the history of the team and the school, but to the long list of hockey players who used this school as their launching point. For me, history is really about people. Without a connection to St. Michael’s personally, I found myself immediately drawn to the many interesting stories about the players and a few coaches. Kevin Shea should have a “major” seller on their hands with ‘St. Michael’s College: A Hundred Years of Pucks and Prayers’.
Travels With Stanley
‘Through the course of a year, the Stanley Cup travels more than two hundred days, covering the width and breadth of the globe. ‘Travels with Stanley’ is a book that is as educational as it is entertaining. In each unique photograph, the Stanley Cup is pictured in an iconic setting, and readers are given a lesson in the history, geography, or trivia involved in the location. Travels with Stanley is a totally unique, totally entertaining look at the world through the eyes of hockey’s Holy Grail–the Stanley Cup.
I was quite impressed with Travels with Stanley. I had originally thought it would be a collection of photos from various places that the Stanley Cup had been, but it’s quite a bit more than that. There are some excellent stories in Travels with Stanley’s 168 pages. The pictures are absolutely fascinating, and it’s amazing to see the amount of mileage that the Stanley Cup has piled up. – Hockey Blog in Canada
Lord Stanley: The Man Behind The Cup
As legacies go, there are few as easily identifiable as the Stanley Cup, a staple of the culture since it was first awarded in 1892. But the man who donated the trophy for the hockey championship of Canada — Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada’s sixth Governor General — would never have dreamed he’d be remembered for something so … well, trivial. He was a serious man, with serious concerns. While he viewed the new-fangled sport as a desirable antidote to lassitude among the colonials, Lord Stanley had more pressing matters on his mind. In ‘Lord Stanley: The Man Behind The Cup’ by Kevin Shea and John Jason Wilson, we learn, from a scholarly point of view, about the crucial role Stanley played in nation-building. Stanley’s story is told in ‘Lord Stanley: The Man Behind the Cup’, a history lesson about the man, his life and times in Canada and the story of how the trophy came to be. For detail, it is hard to beat as it chronicles the life of a man of high birth but modest political ambitions who preferred the outdoors and sports to art galleries and theatre.
– Toronto Star
From the athletes competing for the cup to the man who started the tradition, ‘Lord Stanley: The Man Behind the Cup’ by Kevin Shea and John Jason Wilson is a biographical account of the man who made a significant contribution to this country’s culture. This well-researched tome celebrates the legacy of a man about whom many Canadians probably know little more than his name.
– Halifax Chronicle-Herald
It’s a detailed, extensively-researched biography of a man known in Canada for the donation of a piece of lovely silverware to crown the nation’s top hockey team. If you are interested in some of the backroom machinations of the Canadian government in the late-19th century, or even a glimpse into the life of a privileged but nonetheless beloved and respected man, give this book a shot. It is interesting to get into the head of a man whose love for a foreign sport helped both popularize it and professionalize it.
– Barrie Advance
Everything you ever cared to know about the man who donated the Cup that makes us fuss so to Canada’s ‘amateur’ hockey champions is in this biography.
– Ottawa Citizen
Lord Stanley: The Man Behind The Cup’ is a book for the true hockey historian who thirsts for knowledge about the roots of Canada’s most popular sport.
The book should be a hit with hockey fans with a yen for history. They shoot, they score!
– National Post
Barilko: Without A Trace
The deep blue lakes of the Canadian Shield, the storied Habs-Leafs rivalry, the overtime winner in the Stanley Cup final, bush planes, fishing trips, and a retired number hanging in the rafters of Maple Leaf Gardens: Bill Barilko’s short life was laden with Canadian lore, and in Barilko: Without a Trace, Kevin Shea recounts it wonderfully. Barilko’s parents escaped oppression in Eastern Europe to raise a family in the Porcupine among the hard-working, hard rock gold miners of Northern Ontario.
Hand-me-down skates led Barilko to a brief career in the minors and then, once manager Conn Smythe’s scouts saw his hard-hitting style, to the defence of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smythe was able to overlook Barilko’s youth because of his toughness and his aggressive style of play: “We want a hard aggressive team with no Lady Byngers. I’m not interested in players who don’t play to win.” Win they did and by 1951 Barilko had his name on four Stanley Cups. The last one was the sweetest for Bashin’ Bill, as he scored on a backhander early in overtime to win the series against the powerful Montreal Canadiens.
For fans of the Leafs all was right in the world, but then in late August, just as the team was preparing to open camp, Bill Barilko disappeared on his way home to Timmins from a fishing trip. His plane, piloted by a dentist with that most Canadian of names, Henry Hudson, simply disappeared and the mystery soon grabbed the entire nation. Shea tells his dramatic story well, balancing biography with the history of the sport and breathing life into characters famous as players and coaches, but less known as people. Barilko is the story of a Canadian legend in the real sense of the word.
Tirelessly researched and well written, ‘Barilko—Without A Trace’ is a joy. I could not recommend this year’s hot hockey book more highly!
– London Free Press
Shea tells his dramatic story well, balancing biography with the history of the sport and breathing life into characters famous as players and coaches, but less known as people. ‘Barilko’ is the story of a Canadian legend in the real sense of the word.
It’s hard to imagine a more complete chronicle of both Barilko the player and Barilko the folk hero. Shea accomplishes both in fine style.
– Quill & Quire
A terrific, sprightly written and riveting book
– Windsor Life
I thoroughly enjoyed it (‘Barilko—Without A Trace’) and speaking of thorough, boy was it ever! Impressive. Please pass on my compliments to Kevin.
– Gord Downie – The Tragically Hip
Over The Boards: The Ron Ellis Story
‘Over the Boards: The Ron Ellis Story’ is unique in that it appeals not only to avid sports fans, but to those that can relate to the struggles of everyday life. For those who are fans of the Maple Leafs and of the pre- and post-expansion era of the National Hockey League, this book offers a peek into a simpler, less tainted era of hockey. Mr. Ellis goes into full detail of his time with the Leafs, including many wonderful anecdotes and descriptions of teammates and foes alike. The chapter on the 1972 Summit Series is a gem. You really get a sense of the drama and the passion that fuelled that entire series.
Perhaps the most compelling chapters of the book occur after Ron’s retirement. We read about his struggles in family, business, and health. We also learn about the religious faith that serves as the bedrock of Ellis’ life.
‘Over the Boards: The Ron Ellis Story’ satisfies the appetite of the diehard hockey fan through wonderful stories of Ron Ellis’ time in the NHL, but it also serves as a wonderful read for those inspired by courage in the face of personal adversity. This book dives below the seeming glamour of professional sports.
A Fan For All Seasons
A Fan For All Seasons chronicles the expansive history of the Toronto Maple Leafs 74 years through the eyes of their most recognized and devoted fan. 84-year-old Tom Gaston is the Leafs longest reigning season ticket holder, owning seats for more than 60 memorable seasons and attending games since the team’s 1927 inauguration.
He was at the very first game played in Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931, and has been to every one of the Maple Leafs opening nights since. He has watched the Toronto franchise play in nine decades, in three arenas and in eleven Stanley Cup victories, and today, still attends most home games. A Fan For All Seasons remembers the excitement of the Leafs first seasons in the 20s, through the early years of the 30s, the thrilling Cups of the 40s, 50s and 60s, the frustration of the Ballard era in the 70s and 80s, the mixed emotions of saying goodbye to Maple Leaf Gardens in the 90s and the anticipation of a Stanley Cup victory in the new millennium.
Over the years, Tom Gaston has become a personal friend of the Maple Leaf organization and with many of the players and management, both past and present. Through his close relationship he has enjoyed special honour and privilege and candidly recounts the many entertaining and exciting events he has witnessed and participated in during his 74 years as a Maple Leaf fan. A Fan For All Seasons takes a highly personal and very original historical perspective on the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the NHL’s most storied franchises. For his commitment to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Honoured Member inductee book has been dedicated in his name and reads, ‘In honour of Tom Gaston, a great friend and volunteer of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum. Dedicated, Friday November 4th, 1994.’
If you’re a Leafs fan, ‘A Fan for All Seasons’ by Tommy Gaston and Kevin Shea is a great one. It’s about Tommy Gaston, the most hardcore Leafs fan that ever existed and 75 years of Leafs history through his eyes. The book is essentially a collection of his stories and it’s awesome.