Lots of us consider ourselves knowledgeable hockey fans, capable of correctly answering the tricky trivia questions that arise during those popular gabfests at Tim Hortons.
But let’s see if we’re really that smart.
Have you ever heard of Bob Ring, Jamie Doornbosch, Dean Morton or Darren Boyko? How about Sid Veysey, Cam Brown, Paul Knox or Ron Loustel?
Maybe you can identify Sean McMorrow, Grey Hickey, Larry Kwong or Don Haddell? Or perhaps Jerome Mrazek, Darin Sceviour or Brock Tredway? Okay, what about a couple of brothers, Jordan and Jonathon Sigalet?
I’d be willing to bet a couple of glazed donuts you couldn’t say much about most of them even though they’ve all played in the NHL.
So I’ll add an easy one – Trevor Fahey.
If you know anything about Pictou County’s sports history, you know or at least heard of the Stellarton native who played an NHL game with the New York Rangers in 1964-65.
And here are a couple more – Don Cherry and Bobby Whitlock.
Sure, Cherry’s known to everyone as that loud-talking, crazily-dressed commentator that has his own corner on Hockey Night in Canada. And Whitlock is the P.E.I. native and son of the legendary Buck Whitlock of the 1940s and ’50s.
Well, Fahey, Cherry and Whitlock all have something in common, with each other and with all those others I’ve mentioned. Each played in one NHL game – and only one game. Cherry only one game? It’s true – it was in 1954-55 with the Boston Bruins, the club he would later coach.
Before you start thinking I’ve read the NHL Guide and Record Book from cover to cover, I haven’t. Those 20 or so players are among ones written about by Ken Reid in his new book, One Night Only – Conversations with the NHL’s One-Game Wonders.
The Pictou native, who has quickly become one of the finest sportscasters in the country – some would say he’s already the best – has done a wonderful job with his second publication. The stories he has produced are fascinating – the result of the interviews he conducted with his subjects.
I knew some time ago what he was up to because he phoned to find out how to reach Fahey in Florida. I was excited about his effort then, and I was even more excited when a copy of One Night Only arrived in the mail the other day. He has handled the assignment with the same determination and effort that he gives to his work at Sportsnet. I always enjoy him on the big screen and am now equally enjoying his book.
I’m not going to refer to many of his tales because that would only give away the details he writes about. It would be like reviewing a murder novel and telling you in advance who done it.
One of his interesting stories, though, is on the Sigalet brothers. Both were goaltenders; both made just one appearance with an NHL team. And get this: Jordan’s career in the big league lasted less than one minute. Jonathon’s NHL stay was 14 minutes, 41 seconds.
I like the way Ken introduces his book.
“This is a book for beer leaguers,” he wrote. “For every kid who ever laced up their skates. It’s for everyone who had to pick up a net and move it when somebody else yelled, ‘Car!’ This is a book for everyone who ever dreamed of making it – but didn’t – and for everyone who ever dreamed of hitting the NHL ice for just one night or just one shift.”
Well put, Ken.
As any good author would try to do, he concludes the introduction with this teaser: “Does a dream really come true when it only lasts for a few hours or, in some cases, a few seconds? Let’s find out.”
For Advocate readers, the section on Fahey is understandably the one to read. Trevor’s story is one of a guy who loved hockey since his earliest years. No need, though, to explain the Fahey family to Pictonians. They know it well.
Ken has another good teaser on his back cover: “Was it a dream come true or was it heartbreak? What did they learn from their hockey journey and how does it define them today? From the satisfied to the bitter, Ken Reid unearths the stories from the men who played one game only.”
Jeff Marek, another Sportsnet anchor, wrote the foreward for One Night Only, in which he says: “These players all brought to that one game their own language of sport, built on the years of sacrifice and repetition that got them there. But as all of them will tell you, it’s still never enough to prepare you for the experience – the real thing. A second game is never like the first, can never be like the first – which is why we hold the first so sacred and are fascinated by it.”
There’s an important decision by Ken that I like. A portion of the author’s proceeds will be donated to the Danny Gallivan Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament to raise research funds for the fight against the disease.
The book is published by ECW Press of Toronto, the same firm that produced Ken’s first book, Hockey Card Stories, two years ago.
If you liked Ken’s first effort, I don’t hesitate in saying that you’ll like this one even more.
It’s easy to say you’re going to write a book. But Ken would agree it isn’t easy to make it a reality. There is a lot of work involved.
Ironically, Ken’s latest effort landed in my mailbox the same afternoon that my own book went to the publisher. More on that in a few weeks.
Right now, I’m going to sit down, put my feet up and read One Night Only from cover to cover. I know I’ll love it.