I’ve had a long relationship with the “Coolest Game.” I was a player, a coach, and an administrator across the 1960s and 70s. When I started an academic career at the University of Washington in 1979, I used bus time to begin a novel that eventually became The Commissioner: A Sports Mystery. In 1991, I signed a contract with U of Illinois Press to write a short history of hockey. Three decades and a great co-author later, the project became Hockey: A Global History (2018). Along the way, I published a number of articles and chapters on hockey. I also developed a popular course at the University of New Hampshire called Coolest Game: Hockey and History. So I have a reservoir of material and ideas to share on this site.
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Cris Alvarez reads to his twins, Penelope and Cris 5.
With UNH and Olympic hockey legend Karyn Bye Dietz at a 2018 book signing hosted by the Minnesota Wild.
My identical twin brother Erl and me back in the day.
Andy Holman and I turned in our manuscript to Illinois in 2016. We had trimmed a great deal, but it still totaled 323,000 words. Not surprisingly, our editor asked us to cut at least 25%. That took another year. We decided to cut whole sections if we could. That left us with bunches of good material. We have published some of it elsewhere. We post some of it below.
Above is an American Sports Ambassadors 1971 team I coached on a European tour. Here we were in Switzerland.
Ken Johannson grew up in Edmonton and came south in 1949 to attend North Dakota, where he starred on the hockey team. After graduating, he played for several years in the English National League. The ENL is well-covered in Hockey: A Global History. The article below looks at his important contributions to coaching education.
The title says it all about this section we had to cut from Hockey: A Global History. The Zamboni also plays a central role in The Commissioner.
I had the good fortune to play for Sid, coach against Sid, and work with him as a conference administrator. In 1976, my Amherst team came very close to upsetting his high-flying Polar Bears. At game's end he shook my hand and said "Helluva coach." I will always remember that. Click below for a fuller version of a short section in Hockey: A Global History.
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