Christmas sports books: Hockey figures prominently
But there’s also inside story of golfer Tiger Woods and how thoroughbred horses are developed
The Big Miss. By Hank Haney. Random House, 247 pages, $31.
VANCOUVER — Still blanked out on what to get the sports fan in the family for Christmas? In crisis mode with 10 shopping days left? Me, too. So maybe it’s time to cuddle up with something more in-depth than the 140-character world of Twitter.
Here’s a list of 10 books that sounds intriguing. Full disclosure: I haven’t yet read any of them but they are on my wish list. Maybe Santa will figure out I’ve been good enough in 2012 and he’ll deposit one or two beneath my tree.
The Big Miss
By Hank Haney
Random House, 247 pages, $31
The world-famous swing coach chronicles his six years tutoring Tiger Woods, from the time they first hooked up in 2004 until their relationship ended in 2010. Haney reveals both sides of Tiger, his brilliance on the golf course and his behind-the-scenes obsessions that may have led to his decline. Woods, a noted control freak, was upset with Haney for writing the book even before it was published. But as Haney noted: “They are my memories, too.”
Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
By David Walsh
Atria Books, 432 pages, $27
This is Walsh’s third book about the disgraced cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner. Walsh, a writer for the Sunday Times of London, suspected that Armstrong’s success was too good to be true. He doggedly pursued the story and was vindicated when Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles following a damning report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France; Doping, Cover-ups and Winning at All Costs
By Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
Bantam Books/Random House, 279 pages, $34
Hamilton was a teammate and lieutenant of Lance Armstrong during three of the latter’s seven Tour de France victories (1999-2001). He was also the 2004 Olympic gold medallist in the time trial, a medal he would have to return when he, too, was found guilty of doping. He was eventually suspended for two years, came back and was caught again in 2009. Co-author Coyle conducted more than 200 hours of interviews with Hamilton for the book.
By Sean Pronger with Dan Murphy
Penguin Books, 301 pages, $32
The one-time Canuck draft pick made the publicity rounds a few weeks back, which served to pique interest in his odyssey around hockey’s professional leagues. Pronger pokes fun at himself and his parade through 16 different dressing rooms in 11 years. His last game in the NHL came as a Canuck on the infamous March 8, 2004 night that Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore. It’s the one chapter in the book that isn’t lighthearted. The rest sounds like a pretty good giggle.
The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the League and Changed the Game Forever
By Jonathon Gatehouse
Viking, 335 pages, $32
Never has a book seemed more appropriate. The NHL commissioner is a bad guy to many, a good guy to some, and it appears his legacy will be forever stained by the number of games his league has lost because of lockouts under his watch. Bettman has been at the helm for 20 years. Interestingly, the book begins with the scene at Rogers Arena just minutes after the Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Fans pelted Bettman with garbage — remember? — as they took out their frustrations for the loss. Another 334 pages follow.
Crossing The Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original
By Derek Sanderson with Kevin Shea
HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd., 372 pages, $32.99
For those young-at-heart enough to remember the Bobby Orr-Phil Esposito Boston Bruins of the early 1970s, Derek Sanderson was among the most unforgettable members of the supporting cast. Sanderson could play and he could infuriate opponents at the same time. That was obvious. What wasn’t obvious were his personnel demons: his descent into alcoholism and all its accompanying problems. He also found his way back.
Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, 1911-1926
By Craig H. Bowlsby
Knights of Winter Publishing, 316 pages, $25
One look at the cover was enough for me. Fred (Cyclone) Taylor, in his 1915 Vancouver Millionaires jersey, is featured prominently in an artistic rendering by Aaron White. (More full disclosure: my favourite hat of all-time is emblazoned with the 1915 Stanley Cup champion Millionaires logo. I vow to keep wearing it until Vancouver again wins the Cup.) Author Bowlsby take us through the era when Cyclone Taylor and the Patrick brothers, Frank and Lester, became legends of the game. As a reader bonus, he provides a treasure trove of players statistics from their PCHA days.
A Season In Time
By Todd Denault
John Wiley and Sons Canada, Ltd., 341 pages, $32.95
Denault is a Montreal Canadiens fan – we won’t hold that against him – so it’s probably no coincidence at all that he has written about the 1992-93 NHL season, the last time his beloved Habs won the Cup. The book is not just about the Cup run, though, and focuses on four main storylines: Mario Lemieux’s incredible return from Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Doug Gilmour’s career-best 127-point season; Wayne Gretzky’s playoff run with the Kings: and, of course, Patrick Roy’s 10 overtime wins.
Kentucky Derby Dreams: Making of Thoroughbred Champions
By Susan Nusser
Thomas Dunne Books, 248 pages, $29.99
Jockey Mario Gutierrez’s rise to fame and prominence aboard I’ll Have Another in last May’s Kentucky Derby — and then the Preakness — brings an element of curiosity to this book. Horse racing became sexy again for sports fans in Metro Vancouver. In her book, author Susan Nusser follows horses born on the breeding farms in 2009 to the yearling sales. Along the way, she examines all the people involved in developing a champion thoroughbred.
Illegal Procedure: A Sports Agent Comes Clean on the Dirty Business of College Football
By Josh Luchs and James Dale
Bloomsbury, 269 pages, $29
For those who follow the NCAA, and the glamour football programs that produce the future NFL stars, this book claims to expose the sport’s underbelly. Luchs, a former agent, reveals how players are recruited and at what cost. The sub-title Dirty Business tells you what to expect. Luchs was in the agent business from 1990-2008 before he was suspended by the NFL Players’ Association. He’s now selling commercial real estate – and books — in Encino, Calif.
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