Shortlisted, Toronto Book Awards
On May 2, 1967, Montreal and Toronto faced each other in a battle for hockey supremacy. This was only the fifth time the teams had ever played each other in the Stanley Cup finals. Toronto led the series 3-2.
But this wasn't simply a game. From the moment Foster Hewitt announced "Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States," the game became a turning point in sports history. That night, the Leafs would win the Cup. The next season, the National Hockey League would expand to twelve teams. Players would form an association to begin collective bargaining. Hockey would become big business. The NHL of the "Original Six" would be a thing of the past.
It was The Last Hockey Game.
Placing us in the announcers' booth, in the seats of excited fans, and in the skates of the players, Bruce McDougall scores with a spectacular account of every facet of that final fateful match. As we meet players such as Gump Worsley, Tim Horton, Terry Sawchuk, and Eddie Shack, as well as coaches, owners, and fans, The Last Hockey Game becomes more than a story of a game. It also becomes an elegy, a lament for an age when, for all its many problems, the game was played for the love of it.
"[A] vivid, well-researched analysis of the then-impending cultural and commercial transformation of the National Hockey League."
"I saw this game, and I have to say the book is even better. The Last Hockey Game has all the inside innocence, ego, snubbed cigars, honest scars and pro-gossip from the glory days when the NHL was about to lose its virginity."
"It's about a game and its players, employees in a trade where even excellent work guaranteed nothing, least of all fair treatment yet they played their hearts out, for the love of the game. But the question you'll ask yourself most often while reading The Last Hockey Game is: 'How did he find that out?'"
"Anecdotes, stories and clearly enunciated insights and analysis put The Last Hockey Game right up there on the shelf with Ken Dryden's The Game. There can be no question after reading this excellent addition to hockey's literary canon that our game isn't now and will never be the same as it was then."
"The Last Hockey Game is a bold, intimate, often brilliant feat of storytelling. Bruce McDougall takes a single game, a proverbial grain of sand, and spins it into a universe. The resulting energy illuminates not just the core, the solid centre, but the ragged outer edges of the game's greatest franchises, the Leafs and Canadiens, at the height of their greatness."