"It takes a unique person to get access to the brightest minds in hockey; it takes someone special to get them to open up; and it takes an extraordinary individual to bring all of that together in what will be this season's must-read hockey book. Craig Custance is that guy."
- BOB MCKENZIE, TSN Hockey Insider"These are the great games that I remember watching and covering. You're always thinking, 'Why did the coach do that? What was he looking for there?' Now we know the answers."
- ELLIOTTE FRIEDMAN, Sportsnet
"Craig Custance is a modern journalist with an old-school storytelling style. What he gives you on every page is insightful perspective and entertaining prose."
- KEVIN ALLEN, USA Today"NHL coaches know so much and usually say so little, but Craig Custance cracks them open and finds all kinds of insight, humor and honesty through the biggest moments of their careers. You get to relive the games, and see them through fresh eyes. I love this book."
- BRUCE ARTHUR, Toronto Star"The idea of sitting down with all these respected coaches and watching great games together is an unbelievable concept. The execution from Craig Custance is top notch. Hockey fans will love this book but if you're coaching sports at any level, it should be required reading."
- MIKE VALLEY, NHL goalie coach
From Stanley Cup of Chowder:
"The beauty in this book is that the coaches interviewed had a chance to drop their guard in a way most fans or even writers are usually privy to. There's a unique value in getting to hear a coaches real thoughts, far enough after the fact that they aren't worried about the next series, or guarding their words so as not to upset their opponent. To no ones surprise, Custance goes out of his way to interview and talk with various friends, former players and peers of each coach, in an effort to give a holistic view of who they are, not just as head coaches but as people."From Raw Charge:
From the Boston Globe: 'Behind the Bench' is a good reminder that there is no NHL coaching template
"Custance included enough behind-the-scenes stories (let's face it everyone loves stories) that the casual hockey fan will thoroughly enjoy reading the book. Who doesn't want to know which player Ron Wilson refers to as "impossible to talk to" (take a guess), or what Joel Quenneville did for Pavol Demitra that cost his owners a sizable chunk of money?
Not only was it a fantastic look into the minds of hockey coaches, Custance included personal moments that it's clear a memoir devoted entirely to his experiences as an NHL writer would be entertaining as well. From last-minute downloads to forgotten digital recorders and temperamental RVs, he showed that life on the road wasn't exactly as glamorous as readers might think.
Should a hockey fan buy this book? Yes. Undoubtedly."
"Custance used game film with each coach as the entry point to initiate feedback, analysis, and reflection. Custance watched Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with Julien at Warrior Ice Arena in his final season as Bruins coach. With Sullivan, Custance reviewed Game 6 of the 2016 Final, the first of two Cups the Marshfield native has won.In every case, the film served as the station from which the conversation pulled away, regularly rumbling down different tracks. Custance watched the same game with Babcock and Wilson: the 2010 Olympic gold medal match.
Wilson, the American coach, repeatedly jabbed Phil Kessel, who also played for him in Toronto. Babcock, Canada's boss, reviewed the game and scribbled notes to use for his upcoming training camp in Toronto.It is a good reminder that there is no NHL coaching template. These men may seem like they've come off the factory line with X's and O's in their heads and frowns on their faces. In reality, they are human."
About the Author
Craig Custance is a journalist who spent the last decade covering the NHL as a national hockey writer, including six years with ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He left ESPN to join The Athletic, a San Francisco–based sports media startup. He is currently an NHL Insider for The Athletic and editor-in-chief of The Athletic Detroit. Before working at ESPN, Custance wrote for The Sporting News. He spent the first 10 years of his writing career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after graduating from Michigan State University. He lives in Clinton Township, Michigan, with his wife, Cassie, and three children, Calvin, Cameron, and Cormac. You can follow Craig on Twitter @craigcustance or read more of his work at www.craigcustance.com. Sidney Crosby has captained the Pittsburgh Penguins to three Stanley Cup Final victories, in 2009, 2016, and 2017. He is a two-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy, as well as two Olympic gold medals and a gold medal at the World Championships.