From Publishers Weekly
Until now, The Game, by Hall of Fame goaltender and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Ken Dryden, pretty much stood alone in the annals of great hockey writing. Finally, stiff competition comes from New England author Atkinson, whose year-long study of the high school hockey squad from his alma mater is a bona-fide masterstroke. Cynics might cringe at the Rockwellian town Atkinson describes; certainly it does seem odd in this day and age to follow the antics of some 20 teenagers without one mention of pregnancy, drug abuse or violence. Yet that is precisely the lush and heartwarming portrait Atkinson paints of his hometown of Methuen, Mass., a blue-collar Catholic town split between French Canadians and Italians, where hockey is the common language and obsession. The focal point of Atkinson's book is the game itself, which the author sees as a force of empowerment, family values and community, and most importantly, joy. He strives to share this joy with his five-year old son, Liam, whose pure glee at playing the game and worship of the teenaged players of Methuen High is palpable. Atkinson vividly illustrates the mental and emotional impact the sport has on its players and offers lucid descriptions of game action. The themes of the book may seem quaint hard work, dedication, fairness, faith, camaraderie but that does not in any way lessen its impact.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Widely published three-time Pushcart Prize nominee Atkinson tells the story of the Methuen High Rangers and their quest for the Massachusetts state championship in the 2001-2000 season. Although now a professor of English at Salem State College, Atkinson decided to return to his home community and become the assistant coach of the high school hockey team on which he had played 25 years earlier. This is an observant, evocative book for all readers who remember the days of playing shinny on a frozen pond from sunup to sundown and, if the moon was full, into the night or at least until your mom called you for dinner. Following a young team's single season, it is an emotionally charged, heart-warming tale of personal triumphs, both on and off the ice, of friendship, loyalty, perseverance, and dedicated parents. Many a small town in North America can share the same memories. Recommended. Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.