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Poetry Canadian

Night Work

The Sawchuk Poems

by (author) Randall Maggs

introduction by Angie Abdou & Ron MacLean

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Jan 2018
Canadian, Hockey
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price

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A new edition of a hockey saga, wrapping the game's story in the "intense, moody, contradictory" character of Terry Sawchuk, one of its greatest goalies.

Denied the leap and dash up the ice,
what goalies know is side to side, an inwardness of monk
and cell. They scrape. They sweep. Their eyes are elsewhere
as they contemplate their narrow place. Like saints, they pray for nothing,
which brings grace. Off-days, what they want is space. They sit apart
in bars. They know the length of streets in twenty cities.
But it's their saving sense of irony that further
isolates them as it saves.
- from "One of You"

In compact, conversational poems, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems follows the tragic trajectory of the life and work of Terry Sawchuk, dark driven genius of a goalie who survived twenty tough seasons in an era of inadequate upper-body equipment and no player representation. But no summary touches the searching intensity of Maggs's poems. They range from meditations on ancient/modern heroism to dramatic capsules of actual games, in which the mystery of character meets the mystery of transcendent physical performance. Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems is illustrated with photographs mirroring the text, depicting key moments in the career of Terry Sawchuk, his exploits and his agony.

This 10th anniversary edition of the book marks both the 50th anniversary of the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup and the 100th anniversary of the Leafs as a team. With rich reflections on the book by novelist Angie Abdou and Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, as well as excerpts from scores of reviews by the likes of Gord Downie and Dave Bidini, this new edition of Night Work is a must-have for lovers of hockey and poetry alike.

About the authors

Randall Maggs is the author of the poetry collection Timely Departures (Breakwater Books, 1994), and co-editor of two anthologies pairing Newfoundland and Canadian poems with those of Ireland. He is one of the organizers and the former artistic director of Newfoundland's March Hare, the largest literary festival in Atlantic Canada. He is a former professor of literature at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University. Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, his second poetry collection (Brick Books, 2008), was the winner of the 2008 Winterset Award, the 2009 E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize, and the 2010 Kobzar Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Heritage and History Book Award, longlisted for the Relit Award and named a Globe 100 book in 2008. He lives in Steady Brook, near Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Randall Maggs' profile page

Angie Abdou began writing fiction in 2000 and has since published five books. Anything Boys Can Do was praised by the Times Colonist (British Columbia) for its original take on female sexuality. The Bone Cage, a novel about Olympic athletes, was the inaugural One Book, One Kootenay, as well as a 2011 Canada Reads finalist and the 2012 MacEwan Book of the Year. The Canterbury Trail (Brindle & Glass, 2011), is a dark comedy specifically about mountain culture and more generally about community and our relationship with the environment. The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book of the Year and won an IPPY (independent publishing award), Gold Medal for Canada West. Her fourth novel, Between (Arsenal Pulp Press), is about working mothers, foreign labour, and swingers' resorts. It was chosen as a best of 2014 by the Vancouver Sun, Prism Magazine, and 49th Shelf. Her latest book, What Remains (Arsenal Pulp Press), will be released in Fall 2017. Angie was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK. She currently lives in the Crowsnest Pass area and works as a Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.

Angie Abdou's profile page

RON MACLEAN, host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada for 28 years, began his broadcasting career in 1978 as an all-night DJ in Red Deer, Alberta. In 1984, he moved to Calgary to host Calgary Flames telecasts. MacLean joined CBC in 1986, where he hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs’ telecasts on HNIC, before becoming the full-time national host, and popular co-host of "Coach’s Corner" with Don Cherry in 1987. He has also hosted CBC’s coverage of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the World Cup of Hockey, the Calgary Stampede and Battle of the Blades. MacLean has been recognized with ten Gemini Awards for excellence on television. The co-author of the bestseller Cornered, he lives with his his wife, Cari, in Oakville, Ontario. Follow him on Twitter @RonMacLeanCBC and @hometownhockey_.

KIRSTIE MCLELLAN DAY ranks among the top hockey book writers in the world thanks to the three national bestsellers: Theo Fleury’s #1 bestselling memoir Playing with Fire, Bob Probert’s Tough Guy and Ron MacLean’s Cornered. She's currently working with Marty McSorley on his upcoming Hellbent. Her other books include Above and Beyond, a comprehensive family and business history of cable magnate J.R. Shaw; Under the Mat, a memoir with Diana Hart of the Hart wrestling family; and No Remorse, a true-crime novel. Kirstie is a mother of five and lives with her husband, television producer Larry Day, in Calgary. Together they own one of Canada’s most successful television companies, Pyramid Productions. Visit her online at and follow her on Twitter @kmclellanday.

Ron MacLean's profile page


  • Winner, Kobzar Literary Award
  • Winner, E. J. Pratt Poetry Prize
  • Winner, Winterset Award

Editorial Reviews

"Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems seems poised to become a Canadian classic." --Dave Bidini, The Globe and Mail

"Gary Bettman need look no further if the NHL is in the market for its own poet laureate . . . ." --Barbara Carey, Toronto Star

" . . . as stirring as it is unique in hockey literature . . . ." --Dave Stubbs, Montreal Gazette

" . . . a unique and marvellous literary work . . . ." --Neil Stevens, CP

". . .one of the best hockey books of all time . . .the best hockey book of the year . . ." --Joe Pelletier, "Joe Pelletier's Hockey Book Reviews" (on-line), Terrace, BC

"At times straightforward, at times teasing, sensual, mysterious, or sad, it is an experience as much as a book . . . brilliant . . . ." -- Heather Galindo, Ms. Conduct (on-line), Houston, Texas

"In the past week I was reminded twice why I love reading. First there was Randall Maggs' brilliant Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems and now it's Ian McEwan's Saturday. --John Mutford, The Book Mine Set: Online book discussion forum, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

"To get at [Sawchuk's]aloneness . . . Maggs assumes a number of voices, and one of the most captivating things about this collection is the grace of its polyphony . . . ." --Laurie Graham, The Malahat Review

". . .Night Work offers many brilliant clues but no simple answers to the mystery of Terry Sawchuk . . . . a profound meditation on the questions raised by such a successful and tormented player . . . . --Jamie Dopp, The Fiddlehead

"This is one of the most human collections I've ever read, eerily funereal but celebratory of a life lost, a man remembered. . . . a detailed, complex Sawchukian masterpiece." --Nathaniel G. Moore, Broken Pencil Magazine

. . . Night Work is already a phenomenon in CanLit. --Gregory Betts, Open Book Toronto

"A stirring work . . . . this one demands reading and re-reading. . . . The chord was struck." --Stu Hackel, NY Times

"Night Work does well to set a new standard for sports writing. An absolute must-read."--Stephen Clare, [Halifax] Chronicle Herald

"To learn what, why, and how deeply poetry can mean, put Archibald MacLeish aside for now and read this book."--Neil Besner, Journal of Canadian Poetry

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