Posted:  Oct. 27, 2014

The Goaltenders' Union: Hockey's Greatest Puckstoppers, Acrobats, and FlakesIn hockey, goalies have always been a contradiction — solitary men in a team game, the last line of defence and the stalwarts expected to save the day after any and every miscue and collapse from his teammates. It’s no wonder that anyone who played the position has had his sanity questioned; yet some of the biggest innovations in the game have come from its puckstoppers. In The Goaltenders’ Union, Greg Oliver and Richard Kamchen talk to more than 60 keepers of yesterday and today, finding common threads to their stories, and in dozens of interviews about them with other coaches and players. From Gilles “Gratoony the Loony” Gratton, who refused to play because the moon was out of alignment with Jupiter, to Jonathan Quick, the athletically gifted master keeper of today’s game, the book is an entertaining and enlightening peek behind the mask.  

This book is all about goal tending and the men who did it. Its starts off with the beginnings of hockey where goaltenders had to stand up. They could not lie, kneel or sit up on the ice, they must remain standing. In 1918 the rules were changed so that they could fall to their knees to make a save. It was not until the 30’s that they could catch and hold on to the puck. George Vezina and George Hawsworth were two of the first early great goal tenders. The Vezina Trophy named after him and Hawsworth being the first player to win the award three years in row. His best season being 28-29, with 22 shutouts in 44 games and only allowing 43 goals all year. The author goes into great detail in explaining how there being only 6 teams that there were many good goalies left on the outside looking in. he does go into their careers a lot of them never making it to a club. It was not until the early 60’s that finally the 6 teams started caring two goalies. A lot of good men never got s shot. The expansion in 67 and 69 helped. He also goes into how some teams started having coaches for goalies by the seventies and then by the 80’s and 90’s some were starting to become coaches in the pros and in college. He goes through all of the equipment changes, from pads, sticks, allowing goalies to where a glove, to face masks and helmets. He goes into the ones who the cup and the ones who were good and maybe they should have or were traded at the point the team was going to be favored the next year. There is a lot of information about the players and about the history of the game. I found this book to be a great read and I am sure most hockey fans would enjoy it as well. Well written, and there are some photos of the old time players with really no protection especially when you watch a game now. I really enjoyed reading this book. I got this book from net galley.

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