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Ice Time: A Tale of Fathers, Sons, and Hometown Heroes Paperback – September 24, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609809946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609809945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jay Atkinson is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, investigative journalist, and itinerant amateur athlete from Methuen, Mass. He is the author of two novels, a story collection, and three narrative nonfiction books, with a fourth, MEMOIRS OF A RUGBY-PLAYING MAN, forthcoming from St. Martin's Press. Atkinson's latest books are PARADISE ROAD: JACK KEROUAC'S LOST HIGHWAY (Wiley & Sons) and TAUVERNIER STREET (Livingston Press, University of West Alabama). His book, ICE TIME (Crown Publishers), was a Publisher's Weekly book of the year in 2001, and LEGENDS OF WINTER HILL (Crown Publishers) was on the Boston Globe bestseller list for seven consecutive weeks in 2005. Atkinson has written for the New York Times, Men's Health, Boston Globe, New York Post, and many other publications. A former two-sport college athlete at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, Atkinson has competed in rugby for three decades and continues to play in exotic locales with the Vandals Rugby Club out of Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm not even really a hockey fan but I am a big sports fan and this book resonated on a lot of levels for me. First of all, Atkinson's descriptions are amazing--he got me involved on the first page and I just kept wanting more. Also, his depiction of what it's like to be on a team was dead on. I didn't expect the book's emotional conclusion but that made it all the more powerful for me. The bottom line is that if you like good writing, you'll like ICE TIME.
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By Tom Flynn on November 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Atkinson does a nice job describing a time, place and experience.
His description of the shifting climes of Methuen since his HS
days are particularly insightful. Just when you are enjoying the
book, though, Atkinson tends to interject some borderline
self-promotional prattle about his own hockey stats or die-hard toughness. The stats are irrelevant, and the toughness, if relevant, should be self-evident.
Overall on a scale of 1-10, a hat trick shy of perfect.
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Format: Hardcover
"The most ephemeral and intriguing aspect of hockey is its spontaneity; each rush down the ice blossoms into something different, a new constellation of passes and positioning that happens only once and then melts away, like a snowflake," writes Atkinson in this moving, hilarious and lovingly detailed story of a year in the working life of the Methuen (Massachusetts) High School hockey team. A gifted observer with an eye for character (as in, "Now, there's a character!"), he captures the players, coaches, school officals and parents around the team in living color and salty dialogue. In addition to that, he weaves in memories of his own time as a goalie for the same team 25 years earlier along with his hopes and dreams for his 5-year-old son Liam, whom he is just getting on the ice to participate in league hockey. The mix of spirited reporting and personal memoir, with its evident (but not sappy) love of the sport and everyone involved, is irresistible. For hockey fans, this is a must read. For those who love memoirs, this vivid chronicle of a place many have never been and may know nothing about is a beauty.
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Format: Paperback
The author is constantly searching for emotional resonance and relevance, using events and information from the players', coaches and parents' lives, without ever really revealing much about his own life except in relation to his hockey playing. Yes, the absence of mention of Liam's mother is a very big gap and a weakness of the book, because the question is always there for the reader.
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Format: Paperback
When I first learned about this book, I was more than excited that someone had finally written book about high school hockey. I had already read the great accounts of high school sports in Friday Night Lights, and In These Girls, Hope Is A Muscle. Thirty pages into the book, I was more than impressed with the author's beautiful descriptions of Methuen, hockey, and his growing up in this area of New England.

Suddenly, things began to change, as I was now embedded in the author's autobiography of his past hockey and athletic exploits! He makes a very clear statement in the beginning that he doesn't want to be back in his high school years, but simply remember them. Oh, he does remember everthing and anything, and certainly lets the reader know of his dauntless exploits. Who really cares how many goals he scored on a frozen pond playing against a bunch of kids, or popping in nine goals in a pickup game with a senior group pretty much out of shape, or being one of the three stars in the annual JV intersquad scrimmage! Give me a break.

Atkinson managed to work his way into his old high school with the pretense of collecting background for his book. What he did was to live vicariously through this new Ranger team and maybe better his own team record of 5-15-1. He committed the inexcusable error of a writer; allowing your own life to intermingle and become part of what you were trying to write about.

As for the team, too bad Atkinson created an almost Neanderthal mentality and impression of these boys. The naive reader might think this is what hockey is all about, but what a terrible injustice to a group of athletes.
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Format: Paperback
I confess that I played very little hockey growing up. I live in HOCKEYTOWN and have been a part of the culture of hockey since the hey day of Gordie Howe and the boys. Most of my adult friends did play hockey. I hear their voices in the characters that populate Mr. Atkinson's fine, fine work.
Mr. Atkinson follows the trials and tribulations of a high school hockey team in a Massachusetts town. I coach high school age boys and Mr. Atkinson has got it right. From the stale smell of a high school locker room to the angst of young love.
I appreciated his attention to detail. In one chapter he describes small town life while on a run through town. This was perfect.
There have been many fine books written about high school sports ("Friday Night Lights", "Fall River Dreams", "In These Girls the Heart is A Muscle") "Ice Time" has joined the club.
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