November 27, 2010

A Gift Suggestion for Hockey Fans

With the holiday season swinging into full gear, it's time to work on the gift list.

I would highly recommend "They Call Me Killer", a collaboration between James Duthie of TSN fame and Killer himself as a good choice for the book-loving hockey fans on your list.

Duthie got his start as a sports reporter in Ottawa covering the Ottawa 67's and their coach Brian Kilrea and they have remained in touch over the years. With Brian's retirement in 2009, James was inspired to capture some of Killer's oft repeated stories to share with all hockey fans.

James can tell a good story himself but this assignment was to visit with the veteran raconteur, capture his story through his stories and share the results with us. With very little editing (a true transcript of any conversation is ridiculous to read) and very little re-sequencing, James brings the reader into the room with Brian sitting in his favourite armchair recounting a few decades of hockey experiences.

Some of the vignettes are well known ("Hey Dono, are you playing right wing for us or right defense for them?") and some may be new to long-time followers of Brian. But as a collection, they paint the picture of an old-school hockey man who came from humble beginnings in Ottawa and went on a journey that includes being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In speaking with former players and others from Brian's history, Duthie-the-journalist was ready to share all points of view, good or bad, and he noted in our conversation that Brian didn't place any limits on who James should interview nor did Brian veto any content in the transcript (although he did catch 12 typos). So we get the added honest insights and perspectives from those who were part of Brian's hockey life as a player, a coach, a GM, from high school hockey, to the obscure professional minors, the AHL, the NHL and major junior. Along the way, we get insights to his integrity, his loyalty and his true caring for the players and teams that have been given into his care.

As noted in the forward, the book is not a typical autobiography and it does not flow through Brian's life sequentially. Rather, in an effort to bring Brian's voice to paper, James remained as true to the telling as possible. And that includes the delicate subject of colourful language. Both Brian and James wanted a book that would be suitable for teens but to hit the "bleep" button too often would undermine its authenticity. James has done a good job of finding the balance, and honestly, I can't imagine a kid who doesn't hear this language almost daily.

James Duthie is coming to Ottawa for a book signing tomorrow (Sunday November 28) at the Rideau Centre Chapters from 2-4, and again Monday evening at the Senators - Oilers game at SBP. An autographed copy of this book will make a great holiday gift for hockey fans new and old.

Brian Kilrea will also be signing books at the 67's game on Sunday December 5 behind Section 13 at the Rona Centre.  You work this correctly and you can get both autographs on your gift!!

Many thanks to James Duthie who squeezed in a quick chat for this review while trying to get 3 kids to where they needed to be on a busy Saturday that included a book signing in Toronto.

1 comment:

Johanna said...

Brian Kilrea will be signing books at the 67's game on the concourse behind section 13, this Sunday, December 15!