Hockey is the lens through which we see our lives—how we measure right and wrong, how we understand our hopes and fears. So it was for Dave Bidini in 1974, the last year Dave Keon played in Toronto. In a new grade in a new school, Bidini found himself the victim of a bully—a depredation he could understand only by thinking about what the Leafs’ dauntless captain went through game after game.
Throughout his twenty-two-year career, Keon was only in one hockey fight, in his last game as a Leaf on April 22, 1974. It was on this day that the eleven-year-old Bidini decided to fight back, an occasion that the writer looks back on with breathtaking courage and honesty.
Told in two narratives—one from the point of view of the young Bidini growing up in Toronto in the early ’70s and one from the perspective of the man looking for his absent hero—Keon and Me tells not only the story of a hockey icon who has haunted Toronto for decades, but of a life lived in parallel to Keon’s. It’s the story of cultural change, an account of the tribulations of the NHL’s most beloved (and most despised) franchise in the decades since Keon left under a cloud, and most of all it is a story of growing up, with all the wisdom and sadness that imparts.
About the author
Dave Bidini's first book, published in 1998, was the popular and critically acclaimed On a Cold Road, about what it's like to tour Canada in a rock 'n' roll band. He has since written four more books, Tropic Of Hockey (2001), Baseballissimo (2004), For Those About to Rock (2004) and The Best Game You Can Name (2005). When he is not writing or traveling the world, Bidini is rhythm guitarist for the Rheostatics. He also starred in the Gemini Award-winning film The Hockey Nomad. Dave Bidini lives with his wife and two children in Toronto.
“Engaging … A coming-of-age laid bare. Bidini’s respect for Keon, his admiration for the Leafs great, and the manner in which it is expressed, how it guides Bidini, takes the reader on a fascinating ride. Bidini’s search for his hero is gripping. To say this is not a typical hockey book would be an understatement.” - The Calgary Sun
“[Keon and Me is] so much more than [a hockey story]. It's about your childhood and mine, about believing in something and about dealing with disappointment. It's about hope a quest and it stays with you the way the best books always do." - Ottawa Sun
“Bidini has written a thoughtful, amusing, coming-of-age meditation on what it means, as both a child and an adult, to be a fan.” - Quill & Quire
“Bidini's latest entry into my personal list of best Canadian hockey books of all time is a wonderfully complete read.” - London Free Press
“Artfully intertwined with Bidini's persecution by a cruel bully in school—any hope of official intervention as hopeless as the Leaf's ambitions of winning the Cup—Bidini's work of creative non-fiction is a must read.” - Publishers Weekly
“[Bidini] has a remarkable ability to make coherent the experience of a sports fan that looks to find meaning and value in a game played by professionals. He always gets the most out of his sports-fan experiences without sacrificing a full and happy life outside of that realm. Is he a writer, a musician, or a blue-blooded Leafs fan? Though Bidini’s experience as a fan is richly textured, one gets the sense that all aspects of his life are equally tended to by the versatile Torontonian. Somehow, that makes believing his story that much more gratifying.”—Thehockeywriters.com “The best insight into being a hockey fan since Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater, but more than that it’s a moving meditation on how much the right idol can mean in a life.” - The Calgary Herald
“What a book! You’re getting into the life of a bullied young boy. You’ll be reading about the almost magical presence of the champion Dave Keon in the young man’s adventure of becoming a strong individual. Was such a book ever written about the very deep connection between a young boy and his hockey hero? When Bidini, the writer, seems to know too much, just keep going: getting lost might become the best part of the trip.” - Roch Carrier, author of The Hockey Sweater
Other titles by Dave Bidini
A Wild Stab For It
This Is Game Eight from Russia
A Personal Journey to the North
The Hockey Sweater and Other Stories
A Team, a Fan, and His City
Writing Gordon Lightfoot
The Man, the Music, and the World in 1972
A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas
Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures
Tell Me a Story
Gordon Lightfoot and the Essence of Canada
Home and Away
In Search of Dreams at the Homeless World Cup of Soccer