For the casual enthusiast and hockey fanatic alike comes a brilliant collection of essays and photographs celebrating the grit and dedication of hockey players who regularly and willingly withstand injury and hardship to play the sport they love.
Veteran hockey writer Todd Smith explores a side of the NHL that is rarely seen. Through in-depth player interviews and inside-the-locker-room reportage, Hockey Strong gives readers a behind-the-pads look at the playing in pain ethos that has been woven into the fabric of the game. What separates a hockey player’s toughness from other athletes’ is the fact that being hockey strong is more than a single performance or bout or game or series. Hockey strong is a way of life.
Superstars, muckers, snipers, and enforcers alike: the arduous journey of an NHL player is a story of the human body. It is the cracking left fist of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Dave Brown and the battering ram right hand of the Detroit Red Wings’ Joe Kocur. It is the unbreakable hockey heart of Rob McClanahan during “The Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. It is the smashed face Kris Draper suffered during the bloody rivalry between the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings.
Medical clearance to fight. Midgame root canals. Crushed orbital bones. Beer league determination. Legendary beat-downs. Collapsed lungs that go unreported. Unrelenting pain. Recovery and valor. Players refusing to go out because they owe it all to their brothers in uniform.
Includes stories from: Shjon Podein, Dave Brown, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Joe Kocur, Darren McCarty, Chris Nilan, David Clarkson, Rob McClanahan, Herb Brooks, Jack Carlson, Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle, Rick Tocchet, the Playoffs, and more!
Todd Smith is a contributing writer for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL Network. His hockey stories have been published in Minnesota Hockey, USA Hockey, and Let’s Play Hockey. Smith studied very little at the University of Montana before becoming a Twin Cities publishing veteran and his work has appeared in The Rake Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and Twin Cities METRO Magazine where he penned the wildly popular Spazz Dad print column and blog. Smith played high school hockey in the great state of Minnesota and his playing style was once described as, “surly and terrible.”