The NHL season is well underway and UNP has a few books to keep you company from the regular season to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In We Want Fish Sticks (Nebraska, 2018), Nick Hirshon tells colorful story of the rebranding of the mid-’90s New York Islanders. After winning four straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980s, the Islanders had suffered an embarrassing sweep by their geographic rivals, the New York Rangers, in the first round of the 1994 playoffs. Hoping for a new start, the Islanders swapped out their distinctive logo, which featured the letters NY and a map of Long Island, for a cartoon fisherman wearing a rain slicker and gripping a hockey stick. The new logo immediately drew comparisons to the mascot for Gorton’s frozen seafood, and opposing fans taunted the team with chants of “We want fish sticks!”
The California Golden Seals: A Tale of White Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams (Nebraska, 2017) is a narrative history of one of the worst-but-noteworthy teams in pro hockey history. From 1967 to 1978, a revolving door of players, apathetic owners, and ridiculous marketing decisions turned the Seals, originally based in Oakland, into hockey’s traveling circus.
In 1967 the National Hockey League decided to double its size from six teams to twelve and Minnesota, with its rich hockey history, was a natural choice for a new franchise. Frozen in Time (Nebraska, 2014) is an authoritative and nostalgic history of the Minnesota North Stars from 1967 until their move to Texas in 1993. This history is brought to life by Adam Raider who covered the NHL for more than a decade for magazines including The Hockey News and Hockey Digest.
Bruce Boudreau is living a hockey Cinderella story. After more than three decades in the minor leagues as a player and coach, he was promoted to head coach of the Washington Capitals in 2007. Boudreau revived the Caps, written off as dead, to a division championship and received the Jack Adams award as the National Hockey League’s Coach of the Year in June 2008. His story, Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer (Potomac Books, 2010), is an entertaining odyssey of triumph, disappointment, and perseverance, stretching from Toronto to Washington. He is currently the head coach of the Minnesota Wild.