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Children's Nonfiction Hockey

Small Town Glory

The story of the Kenora Thistles' remarkable quest for the Stanley Cup

by (author) John Danakas & Richard Brignall

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Feb 2012
Hockey, Post-Confederation (1867-), Sports & Recreation
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2012
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2006
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 17
  • Grade: 4 to 6
  • Reading age: 12 to 17


How did the Kenora Thistles become, against all odds, the smallest team and the smallest town ever to win the Stanley Cup?

This famously scrappy hockey team was founded in the rough and tumble town of Kenora, Ontario, at the end of the 19th century. A decade later, playing far away from home, in Montreal, the fiery teenagers whom the Montreal Star dubbed "the fastest that have ever been seen anywhere on ice" out-skated and out-played their older, more experienced opponents to win the coveted hockey championship trophy.

Sports novelist John Danakas and journalist Richard Brignall team up to tell the true story of the ultimate underdogs in this a little-known chapter from Canadian sports history.

[Fry Reading Level - 4.5

About the authors

JOHN DANAKAS is the author of five children`s novels and one non-fiction book for young adults. His book Hockey Night in Transcona was an Ontario Silver Birch Award finalist. Curve Ball, Lizzie`s Soccer Showdown, and Hockey Heroes are all Canadian Children`s Book Centre Our Choice selections. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

John Danakas' profile page

Richard Brignall is a freelance writer, former newspaper sport reporter, based in Kenora, Ontario. He has over 130 articles published in magazines like Cottage Life and Outdoor Canada. He helped originate the Recordbooks series at James Lorimer and Company. This series focuses on Canadian sports history and issues like race, gender, disability, and poverty. He has written seven books for this series. Titles include Small Town Glory about the Kenora Thistles winning the Stanley Cup, Forever Champions about the Edmonton Grads women’s basketball team, Big League Dreams about black baseball player Fergie Jenkins, and China Clipper about Chinese-Canadian football player Norm Kwong. 

Richard Brignall's profile page


  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens - Canadian Children's Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

" might just be the ticket to get [reluctant teens interested in the printed word. It deals with teenagers becoming adults, and making a name for themselves and their home town in the process. Even for adults the story itself is fascinating."

Kenora Daily Miner and News

"Historic photos and short chapters promise to make the book palatable for reluctant readers."

Quill & Quire

Librarian Reviews

Small Town Glory: The Story of the Kenora Thistles’ Remarkable Quest for the Stanley Cup (Recordbooks)

In 1907, the Kenora Thistles, a famously scrappy hockey team, defied the odds and out-skated and out-played more experienced opponents to win the coveted hockey championship trophy, becoming the smallest town ever to win the Stanley Cup. Includes black-andwhite photographs, sidebars and glossary.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

Other titles by John Danakas

Other titles by Richard Brignall