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Sports & Recreation Hockey

Picturing the Game

An Illustrated Story of Hockey

by (author) Don Weekes

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Hockey, Anthologies
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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Hockey has a curious connection to editorial cartooning and sports illustration, one as old and storied as the game itself. Many writers and photographers have told the story of game play, but never from such an original, unvarnished perspective as the cartoonist’s.

Picturing the Game transports fans into the mischievous world of caricature through the rough drafts of hockey history by Bruce MacKinnon, Aislin, Serge Chapleau, Susan Dewar, Brian Gable, and many other talented artists. They make us laugh by telling the truth and – perhaps – make us a little wiser about what we already suspect of the fools running the show. The earliest drawings collected here come from the anonymous early house artists who drew ancient play and its first audiences. Their work evolved into the cartooning of Arthur Racey and Lou Skuce, whose editorial and sports cartoons ran when newspapers had a virtual monopoly on news dissemination and belief in the printed word was absolute. Not surprisingly, the dailies became the medium that made hockey Canada’s national game. Later, Franklin Arbuckle, Duncan Macpherson, and Len Norris animated the game’s advance through more meaningful allegory, humorous irreverence, and an underlying cultural bearing that gave each of their panels its own power and influence.

Don Weekes showcases the gifted, forward-thinking graphic journalists throughout hockey’s history whose bold aesthetic and deft draughtsmanship could always make the butt of their satire look perfectly asinine. Their ingenuity and perceptiveness paved the way for a journalistic showmanship that embodied a truly Canadian acerbic spirit. It was nothing short of groundbreaking and Canada’s national game is all the better for it.

About the author


Don Weekes is an award-winning television producer at CTV Montreal. He is the author of more than twenty books on hockey, including The Biggest Book of Hockey Trivia, World Class Hockey Trivia, and Hockey's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records.


Don Weekes' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A fascinating look at our shared history through a unique lens. Undoubtedly this will bring back countless memories for hockey fans.” Ryan Kennedy, editor-in-chief, *The Hockey News *

“An ideal gift for your favourite hockey fan.” The Winnipeg Free Press

“Don Weekes has caught a truly rare glimpse of game play. Rigorously sourced, the narrative is punctuated with illustrations and editorial cartoons that are both entertaining and thought-provoking, some dating to Lord Stanley’s time. Bravo, Don! I loved this book!” Kevin Shea, author of The Hall: Celebrating Hockey’s Heritage, Heroes and Home and Barilko: Without a Trace

“Inside these pages is not just an illustrated chronicling of hockey in Canada by historically renowned illustrators. It’s also a raw view of the game’s most iconic and evolutionary moments as seen through the art of some of the crankiest, most wretched trolls in journalism: editorial cartoonists. What’s not to like?” Bruce MacKinnon, cartoonist, The Chronicle Herald

“There are books which are just wonderful to hold in your hands and flip through the pages. Picturing the Game: An Illustrated Story of Hockey by Don Weekes is one of those books.” Yorkton This Week

Picturing the Game takes readers on a wonderful journey that tells the history, the histrionics, and the hilarity of our storied game. It’s a treasure.” Roy MacGregor, author of The Home Team: Fathers, Sons & Hockey and Wayne Gretzky’s Ghost: And Other Tales from a Lifetime in Hockey

“Picturing the Game is an incisive, comprehensive, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking retelling of the history of the game as seen not through the camera lens but through pens and pencils. There are so many gorgeous illustrations that it’s easy to forget there is a narrative here and a powerful one. Weekes has always been able to put together a solid hockey book, but he has outdone himself. The writing is up to the quality of the work of cartoonists like Aislin and Michael de Adder and that’s a high compliment.” Jack Todd, The Montreal Gazette

“Please read this overdue look at editorial cartooning in hockey from the irreverent artists’ viewpoint, vividly reproduced from a century of newspapers, magazine covers, adverts and game programs.” Lance Hornby, The National Post

“This book is a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Toronto Reference Library all without having to leave the comfort of your couch on a snowy winter morning. It’s a significant piece of scholarship worthy of a Ph.D, yet it’s highly entertaining and very readable.” Policy Magazine

“Cartoons are a handy shortcut that helps us understand history. Don Weekes has put together a brilliant collection of drawings and other graphic material on hockey. In the process he has helped increase our populist knowledge of the game.” Terry Mosher (Aislin), cartoonist, The Montreal Gazette

“What an insightful and mischievous romp through Canada’s national sport! Loaded with stories and details and animated with painfully smart drawings of unflinching irreverence. After all, hockey players and cartoonists strive for the same goal, that perfect shot!” Susan Dewar, cartoonist, Postmedia

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