Stay Busy in the Offseason With These Books

Hockey & sport-themed reads to keep you occupied for the next few weeks.

As you can probably tell from our content these days, we’ve basically hit peak summer/offseason when it comes to the Buffalo Sabres. All is quiet on the Western (New York) front, at least when it comes to hockey. With that said, the Buffalo Bills are getting into the swing of things (hi, Buffalo Rumblings!) and the Sabres’ season really isn’t too far off.

Need something to occupy your time over the next few weeks? Check out these hockey/sport-themed books that I’ve read & enjoyed over the years. Pick up a copy in stores, online or borrow through your local library.

Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player
by Willie O’Ree

Willie O’Ree’s story is an important one, and this is worth the read. A firsthand account of what he dealt with while growing up in the sport, and what it took for him to reach the NHL, this is a great look into O’Ree’s personal story and everything he had to overcome.

Taro Lives! Confessions of the Sabres Hoaxter
by Paul Wieland

We all know the story of Taro Tsujimoto... but no one quite knows the story like Paul Wieland. Wieland was the Sabres’ PR director at the time and helped ‘create’ the fictional character. Especially recommended for Buffalo fans, this is a great dive into the whole debacle.

Game Misconduct: Hockey’s Toxic Culture and How to Fix It
by Evan Moore & Jashvina Shah

While I’d love to pretend like everything is sunshine & rainbows in hockey, that just isn’t reality. Moore & Shah write openly & honestly about many of the sport’s problems, including racism, abuse & discrimination. One only needs to look at the current Hockey Canada scandal to know this book is sorely, sorely needed.

This Team Is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them): How I Became a Professional Hockey Fan by Steve “Dangle” Glynn

I know Steve Dangle is more of a Leafs guy, but I promise this is worth a read - especially if you follow him on Twitter or have ever seen any of his videos. It’s a fun personal narrative of how he got to where he is today, all his steps and missteps along the way,

Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey
by Ken Dryden

I wrote a review about this book back in 2017.

Zamboni Rodeo
by Jason Cohen

This one may not be high up on the list for many NHL fans, but if you love hockey, it’s a fun read about the sport in what many consider ‘nontraditional’ markets. Cohen follows the now-defunct Austin Ice Bats across the state of Texas & beyond, providing an interesting perspective on things.

This is Russia: Life in the KHL - Doctors, Bazaas and Millions of Air Miles
by Bernd Bruckler

If you want to learn about what life is like playing in Russia as an import player, this is the book for you. It’s eye-opening, interesting and at times, hair-raising. Some of the reviews recommend Dave King’s King of Russia instead, but as I haven’t read that one, I can’t vouch for it.

And on my list to read...

  • Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr
  • All the Way by Jordin Tootoo
  • The Crazy Game by Clint Malarchuk
  • Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch
  • Gold Medal Diary: Inside the World’s Greatest Sports Event by Hayley Wickenheiser
  • Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South by Jon C. Stott
  • How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life by Karl Subban
  • Before the Lights Go Out: A Season Inside a Game on the Brink by Sean Fitzgerald
  • On Account of Darkness: Shining Light on Race and Sport by Ian Kennedy/

Have any recommendations? Leave them in the comments, and check out my full list on Goodreads.