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The Physics of Hockey Hardcover – October 17, 2002

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The Physics of Hockey + Hockey: How It Works (The Science of Sports (Sports Illustrated for Kids)) + Hockey: The Math of the Game (Sports Math)
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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Haché brings to this informative study the perspective of a physicist (he is assistant professor of physics at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada) and amateur hockey player (goalie). He stints on neither the physics, which he presents clearly, nor the hockey, making the reader feel like going to a game. Hockey, he says, perhaps involves more physics than any other sport. "Because it is played on ice, we need to take into account elements of thermodynamics and molecular physics. Skating makes use of a great deal of mechanics, as does shooting. Puck trajectories are influenced by air drag and ice friction, which involve fluid dynamics. And because hockey is a contact sport, the physics of collisions is also part of the game." After chapters on the ice and aspects of play, Haché considers the game as a whole and offers a betting tip: "Bet on the team that is in the middle of a losing streak (or against the team that seems to be on a roll)."

Editors of Scientific American

Review

Haché brings to this informative study the perspective of a physicist and amateur hockey player (goalie). He stints on neither the physics, which he presents clearly, nor the hockey, making the reader feel like going to a game.

(Scientific American)

Intriguing... Haché is a physics professor and an amateur hockey player who combines his two passions in this book, which uses hockey to explain various aspects of physics, from thermodynamics to fluid dynamics.

(Publishers Weekly)

A book that will amuse and delight hockey lovers... Physical concepts are covered at a level that the average first year physics student would readily grasp. This book is highly recommended recreational reading for anyone with an inclination toward physics and an interest in the game.

(Tim Bach The Physicist (Australia))

The Physics of Hockey opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing and understanding the game I love. It is pure entertainment, cover to cover. Who would have guessed physics could be so much fun?

(Mike Brophy The Hockey News)

An incredibly well-written and very approachable book... For chemists in the audience..., there are several discussions laced throughout the text that border more on materials science than physics.

(Randall C. Willis Today's Chemist at Work)

Enjoyable to read... All aspects of the game are investigated and the mathematics are easy to follow.

(Physics Teacher)

Many high school students will learn good science, and any reader will learn more about the game.

(Choice)

A great book and well worth buying a copy.

(Calvin S. Kalman Physics Teacher)

Well-written, scientifically interesting, and pitched at a level that will appeal to both the literate high school student and the professional scientist. Even hockey coaches might read it!

(Paul J. Nahin, University of New Hampshire)

This is a book every hockey player needs and every hockey fan will love. Well written, complete and thoroughly enjoyable, it's a book you won't want to pass up.

(Barry Parker, author of Einstein's Brainchild and Chaos in the Cosmos)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (October 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801870712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801870712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Greenstein on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alain Haché's The Physics of Hockey an extremely interesting book. As fans, we watch NHL players do some pretty incredible things, but don't really understand how they do them. Mr Haché uses his tremendous knowledge of physics to explain "how hockey happens".
The book explains just about every imaginable aspect of ice hockey. It explains how the ice rink is created and maintained. It tells us why players skate the way they do, why goalies move the way they do, why the players manipulate their sticks in certain ways, why the bodily protection is needed and how it works and how the game generally proceeds.
Haché's style is quite readable, though the idea of applying physics to hockey seems on the surface to be dry. He clearly loves the game and that comes through in his writing. He is both a scientist and a player, and he skillfully combines both of these talents in one very well-written volume.
For a scientist the book is much more meaningful; however, the book has plenty to offer for non-technical hockey fans. The book mixes very technical analyses and diagrams demonstrating physical principles with very down-to-earth prose that general hockey fans should gain a lot from and really enjoy.
The book's one flaw is the way in which the content was organized. The book starts off with a lot of scientific content before moving into the down-to-earth, non-technical prose. In fact, the first topic treated, the physics of the ice itself, is so esoteric, that even I, an engineer, was almost discouraged from moving past it. I was glad I made it through.
If there's a second edition, I suggest that Haché revise the structure of the book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Blaszczak on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you like ice hockey and got a B or better in high school physics (and you remember how it happened), this book is a must-have.
Alain Haché is an amateur-league goalie, and a professional physicist. His book analyses all aspects of the game, from the coefficient of friction of ice at different temperatures to the effects of air and gravity on a flying puck after a slapshot.
The book includes references to hockey biographies, medical and physiological papers, and player technique books like "Speed on Skates".
Some reviewers might fault the book for not explaining hockey with only physics; the author uses statistics (to explain witing and losing streaks), and geometry (to explain why goalies come out of the net) in his analysis.
Haché's explanations are well written, and as far as I can tell, technically correct. The author is a student of the game and his reference for it is obvious. For the math hobbyist or amateur physicist who is also interested in hockey, this is a fantastic book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ageshel on January 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was written in a fun, intersting style, while at the same time explaining complex scientific principles and research facts in a straight-forward way so that everyone can understand it, either the interested sports fan or the trained scientist/engineer.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is great for people that either love playing hockey or just watching. It is a great inside look to the mechanics of everything that goes on when playing hockey. This would be something I recommend to people learning how to play or simply improve their hockey skills. I also liked that this book was not written in a formal, boring writing style. Alain Hache added a bit of personality when writing this book which made it much easier and more interesting to read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Physics of Hockey is a recommended read for anyone who plays and enjoys hockey, as I do, but wants to understand some of the underlying physical phenomena that goes on in the game. The Physics of Hockey satisfied my curiosity on several topics. For example, I really enjoyed learning the molecular makeup of ice surfaces, and why ice skates slide so frictionlessly on ice. The chapter on hockey winning statistics was also fun; one insight I learned is that professional hockey teams have average losing streaks that are shorter than predicted statistically. I was hoping for a little more explanation of the flex contribution of a stick to a good slapshot, but the subject was at least discussed.

My biggest issue with the book was that there was too much math and formulas for the average reader. I know that he opens the book by stating that the math was watered down, but I still think it was too heavy on the math. Most readers will have to gloss over these formulas. He does explain the CONSEQUENCES of the formulas, but not always clearly enough, in my opinion. In short, I wish the book was heavier on written explanation, and lighter on the formulas.

Still, I enjoyed reading the book, and any science-curious hockey player would probably enjoy it as well.
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