December 01, 2008

Ice It Down: A Look at Pro Hockey Through a Trainer's Eyes by Brian Patafie

Book review time!

For those who don't know, Brian Patafie is the trainer for the Ottawa 67s and after being in the business for over 30 years he finally did what folks had been suggesting he do for a long time - he wrote a book about his experiences as a pro-hockey trainer.

I bought it on Saturday at the 67s game and finished it by Sunday evening.

When asked about the book, Brian is quick to note that it's not for kids. Affirmative on that. I kept thinking about those notices that show up for certain TV programs:
This book contains mature content and coarse language. Reader discretion in advised.

It's a trip through Brian's career as told in about 140 vignettes; you can read as much or as little as you want in one bite. It's not like there is a complex plot to keep track of. It's more like sitting around, drinking beer and swapping stories.

Many of the stories had me laughing out loud. He really put this foot in it on more than one occasion. Others were poignant. He encountered some pretty incompetent guys in his time and he clearly didn't (and I presume still doesn't) suffer fools easily. He formed some important and long-lasting relationships and he's generous with praise for these people. Through it all, he used his sharp wit and much sharper tongue with friends and foes alike.

It's an interesting lens through which to see some of the behind-the-scenes workings of pro-hockey. If you are thinking of gifts for any literate, adult hockey fans on your shopping list, I would recommend this one.

It's available at Ottawa67s games, from the book's website, Lacroix Sports and Chapters

But mind the warning: reader discretion is advised.

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