A wildly evocative chronicle of the decade that changed hockey forever.
"Lady Byng died in Boston" read a sign in the Garden arena in 1970, a cheery dismissal of the NHL trophy awarded the game's most gentlemanly player. A new age of hockey was dawning. For 30 years, hockey was an orderly and (relatively) well-behaved sport. There was one Commissioner, six teams and five colours--red, white, black, blue and yellow. Oh, and one nationality. Until 1967, every player, coach, referee and GM in the NHL had been a Canadian. And then came NHL expansion, the founding of the WHA, and garish new uniforms. The Seventies had arrived: the era that gave us not only disco, polyester suits, lava lamps and mullets but also the movie Slap Shot and the arrest of ten NHL players for on-ice mayhem. But it also gave us hockey's greatest encounter (the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit), its most splendid team, the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, and the most aesthetically satisfying game--the three-all tie on New Year's Eve, 1975, between the Canadiens and the Soviet Red Army.
Modern hockey was born in the sport's wild, sensational, sometimes ugly Seventies growth spurt. The forces at play in the decade's battle for hockey supremacy--dazzling speed vs. brute force--are now, for better or worse, part of hockey's DNA. This book is a welcome reappraisal of the ten years that changed how the sport was played and experienced. Informed by first-hand interviews with players and game officials, and sprinkled with sidebars on the art and artifacts that defined Seventies hockey, the book brings dramatically alive hockey's most eventful, exciting decade.
STEPHEN COLE's previous books include The Canadian Hockey Atlas; The Last Hurrah: A Celebration of Hockey's Greatest Season '66--'67; and a hockey humour anthology, Slapshots. He is also the author of a history of CBC-TV, Here's Looking at Us. Cole has written on movies and TV for The Globe and Mail and the National Post, and his short stories have appeared in Quarry and Descant. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Jacquie McNish, and their sons, Harry and Lewis.
"A must-read for hockey fans . . . this book should be at the top of every puck enthusiast's wish list." —Winnipeg Free Press
"This book is great fun, a hop into a time machine to a time when hockey was more violent . . . and the players more colorful, with better nicknames. [A] readable gem." —Publishers Weekly
"Come aboard Stephen Cole's amazing time machine for a skate back to the Seventies—hockey's most dramatic decade. It was the best of times and often the worst of times—the rollicking years of expansion, rival leagues, mayhem, bad hair, court cases and, of course, the brilliant play of Bobby Orr and Guy Lafleur. Hockey Night Fever will pull you out of your seat." —Roy MacGregor