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Sports & Recreation Hockey

A Loonie for Luck

by (author) Roy MacGregor

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Oct 2003
Hockey, Olympics
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2003
    List Price

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In February 2002, the greatest hockey teams this country could muster headed to Salt Lake City to compete in the Winter Olympics. Our men and women hoped to go all the way to the finals, but it had been fifty long years since the Canadians had won Olympic gold. In the past, they had come close – it was just that luck always seemed to be against them.

This time, however, their chances to end the long drought were good. The women looked set for a medal – although the all-powerful American team stood between them and the ultimate prize. The Canadian men faced strong opponents, too, but prospects were good for the all-star team assembled by the great Wayne Gretzky. And this time, both teams had a secret weapon. So secret, in fact, they didn’t even know it existed. At first.

Like all good secrets this one was too good not to pass along. Under the surface at centre ice, Trent Evans had hidden a Canadian loonie. The expert ice maker had been invited down from Edmonton to help install the ice for the Games, and this was his little good-luck charm for our Olympic hockey teams. Perhaps, he figured, the guys could use some “home ice” advantage.

A Loonie for Luck is the true story of that loonie and the magic it wove at Salt Lake City. It follows Wayne Gretzky, Trent Evans, and the men’s and women’s teams through their time at the Games. And it pays tribute to the role of superstition and chance in hockey – a part of the sport not always acknowledged, but one that brings real magic to the game.

With the close co-operation of Wayne Gretzky and Trent Evans, Roy MacGregor tells the inside story of how the coin came to be in Trent Evans’ pocket and then buried under centre ice. He tells how, throughout the Games, the loonie was in danger of being uncovered as the secret began to spread, and how, as the tournament progressed, with the players in need of every break they could get, the good luck miraculously held.

This true story, brilliantly illustrated by Bill Slavin, is full of suspense, humour, and charm. It will delight every Canadian who felt a surge of pride for our athletes at Salt Lake City.

About the author

In the fall of 2006, Roy MacGregor, veteran newspaperman, magazine writer, and author of books, came to campus. Since 2002, MacGregor had been writing columns for the Globe and Mail, but he had a long and distinguished career in hand before he came to the national newspaper. He has won National Newspaper Awards and in 2005 was named an officer in the Order of Canada. He is the author of more than 40 books — 28 of them in the internationally successful Screech Owls mystery series for young readers — on subjects ranging from Canada, to the James Bay Cree, to hockey. That fall, he spoke to a packed room in the St. Thomas chapel. After the lecture, Herménégilde Chiasson, the Acadian poet, artist, and New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor of the day, hosted a reception at the majestic Old Government House on the banks of the St. John River. MacGregor spent the evening surrounded by young journalists and the conversation continued late into the night. After all, there were more than three decades of stories to tell.

Roy MacGregor's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A true fable about hockey and the Olympics, and MacGregor tells the tale as only he can.”
Canadian Press

“Dollars to donuts, you won’t find a better stocking stuffer for the shinny fans in your home.…It’s a treat.”
Toronto Sun

“At the urging of Wayne Gretzky, the mastermind behind the Olympic men's team, MacGregor weaves the story in his typically lyrical style, with delightful illustrations by Bill Slavin. And you thought a loony was worth just 63 cents U.S.”
Montreal Gazette

“The year's best sports book? Roy MacGregor's charming true fable for all ages about Canada's 2002 Olympic hockey gold medal triumphs.…It's the story of how one lucky loonie went from a Tim Hortons cash register in Edmonton to centre ice at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.”
Vancouver Courier

“A slim but oddly moving volume about the Canadian ice maker who secretly planted that famous loonie beneath the centre ice face-off spot at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Welcome back from a desert somewhere if you don't know that Canada won both men's and women's hockey gold medals at Salt Lake City. Roy MacGregor can take any aspect of hockey and make it an evocative read. He, then, is a natural when it comes to a story like this, which is essentially about Canada's almost mystical, and mythical, love affair with its favourite pastime. Bill Slavin's illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment.”
Victoria Times Colonist

“Roy MacGregor has put together a nifty little hardcover called A Loonie for Luck, which affectionately details the exploits of an Edmonton icemaker named Trent Evans.…A Loonie for Luck clocks in at just under 100 pages, but MacGregor manages to jam in a lot of history about superstitions and omens, from Red Kelly's 'pyramid power' in Toronto to Ottawa forward Bruce Gardiner's ceremonial flushing of his hockey stick in the dressing-room toilet before each game.”
Ottawa Citizen
“What makes this slim, well-illustrated volume from the prolific Roy MacGregor so moving isn't that it's so Canadian but that it's also soooo Edmonton.…Does it get any better than this?…A heartwarming, heartfelt story about how one man, an icemaker from Edmonton, became part of a wonderful hockey yarn.”
Edmonton Journal
“A true Canadian fable told with an air of magic and superstition. This is a story that we will tell our children and is destined to become a hockey legend. This small book…is complete with illustrations and is a must for any true hockey fan.”

“When you’ve got both Roy MacGregor and Wayne Gretzky involved in a project, it’s pretty much a lead pipe cinch to be good. And this little book doesn’t disappoint.…The quality of the writing and the compelling nature of the story, not to mention the fact that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Wayne Gretzky Foundation to help under-privileged kids buy hockey gear, make this a great book to buy the hockey fan, including yourself.”
Oldtimers Hockey News

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