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Gratoony the Loony: The Wild, Unpredictable Life of Gilles Gratton Paperback – October 3, 2017
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“Gratton’s stories of life in the NHL are the best part of the book, and he doesn’t hide the negative stories in his glove, unabashedly naming names . . . The book as a whole is honest, open, and fun, and it’s perfect for hockey fans, especially those who remember the ’70s.”― Publishers Weekly
“Even though Gratton only played in 47 NHL games in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons, he achieved somewhat legendary status. His autobiography Gratoony the Loony: The Wild, Unpredictable Life of Gilles Gratton, co-written with Greg Oliver, shows how his quirks and actions fostered the image of the crazy goaltender. But it also tells the story of a French-Canadian boy growing up playing hockey and reaching the big stage while believing there was more to life than a hockey rink.” ― SeattlePI.com
“An almost impossible to believe life story, with an anti-hero cast that not even Slap Shot would dare to imagine. In the history of hockey, you’ll never meet Gilles Gratton’s equal. You’ll read Gratoony the Loony in one gulp, mouth wide open. All that we’ve ever heard about him, all the legends, and all the mind-blowing and hilarious tales, are true.” ― Marc Durand, author and reporter for CBC/Radio-Canada
“Hockey has had its fair share of memorable characters, but none more so than Gilles Gratton. Now for the first time, the eccentric and outspoken goaltender shares his own ‘unique’ story, and what an interesting tale it is. From his childhood in Quebec, to his junior days in Oshawa, and his short, abbreviated stints in the WHA and the NHL, and beyond, it’s all here, no holds barred. Written alongside noted hockey author Greg Oliver, Gratoony the Loony: The Wild, Unpredictable, Life of Gilles Gratton takes the reader on a personal journey quite unlike any other.” ― Todd Denault, author of Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey, and The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey
“NHL history is filled with legendary players doing legendary things. But sometimes, the very best stories are found by digging past the headlines and record books and into the game’s oddball cast of supporting characters. And the hockey world hasn’t produced many characters more fascinating than Gilles Gratton. From his memorable masks to his transcendental meditation to his naked practices, Gratoony the Loony has a fascinating story to tell, and hockey fans of all ages won’t want to miss it.” ―Sean McIndoe, author of Down Goes Brown
"Gratton and veteran sports writer Greg Oliver pull no punches in their warts-and-all look back on the ups and many downs of Gratton’s life, both in and out of professional hockey." –– Winnipeg Free Press
“Mr. Gratton’s life is far from a conventional NHL player’s life, and that’s part of what makes Gratoony the Loony an enjoyable read...While hockey was his way of making some good money, it was never a priority to him. It did, however, provide a pile of hilarious stories and some great insight into Mr. Gratton’s life.” ― Hockey Blog in Canada
“While he never goes out of his way to smear anyone, Gratton ― then or now ― isn’t afraid to speak his mind . . . He isn’t shy about addressing his actions or words that got him into trouble 40 years ago. No whitewashing here.” – Puck Junk
From the Back Cover
One of hockey’s most colourful characters, from hockey’s most colourful era, tells all
Gilles Gratton was not a typical pro hockey player. He refused to don his equipment and man his net if the planets were not properly aligned. He skated naked at practice. He created one of hockey’s most famous goalie masks based on his astrological sign. He fought with coaches and management, speaking his mind to his detriment. Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll ruled his life, not stopping pucks. Truthfully? He never really wanted to be an NHL goaltender; he wanted to be Tibetan monk. And so, he quit hockey to seek enlightenment.
Now, in his autobiography, Gratton teams up with author Greg Oliver to tell his wild and at times, yes, loony story: from his early days in Montreal, where his brother Norm Gratton became an NHL player, too; through his stints with the OHA’s Oshawa Generals, the Ottawa Nationals and Toronto Toros of the rogue WHA, and the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers in the NHL.
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The book is filled with photos of Gratton throughout his personal life and career, as well as an abundance of quotes from those who know him. In fact, the amount of quotes throughout the text almost makes this not a singular autobiography, but a team effort as you get a ton of perspectives of this man who made his name as a goalie for a number of teams throughout his career.
As much as I enjoyed the book, I do despair that it’s so short and doesn’t include as much of Gratton’s voice as I was hoping. While I learned a lot about him, this is likely a book best for fans who are already familiar with his career and just wants to fill in some gaps rather than a new fan who is looking to get a full perspective. But despite those drawbacks, this was a good read that is enjoyable and worth the price!