Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Reliving the Stanley Cup’s rich history
Posted Oct 31, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 10:01 PM
If there is to be a definitive book to be written about the Stanley Cup, it’s only fitting that Eric Zweig should take on the task. Here’s an author who has been writing about sports and its history since he graduated in 1985 from Trent University in Ontario.
His first book, “Hockey Night in the Dominion of Canada,” was published in 1992 and is a historical novel set during the early days of pro hockey. He has written or contributed to hockey books since 1997 and has been writing children’s books (main subject: hockey) since 1999. Zweig also has contributed to “The Official Guide to the Players of the Hockey Hall of Fame,” “Total Hockey” and the annual “NHL Official Guide & Record Book.”
Zweig’s latest work is something that will soothe hockey fans that are waiting for the labor impasse to end. “Stanley Cup: 120 Years of Hockey Supremacy” (Firefly Books; $49.95, hardcover, 352 pages) is expensive, but it is the perfect coffee table book for hockey fans. With some sharp color photography and vintage black-and-white shots, this book offers a year-by-year look at the Stanley Cup finals.
What’s nice about this book is that the history is chronological, but in reverse; in other words, the first Stanley Cup series covered is last season’s, which was won by the Los Angeles Kings.
Each year’s series is covered in a two-page spread that has a consistent format: the winning team’s roster and a large photo. The remainder of the first page is devoted to graphics like game results, individual scoring leaders and an all-inclusive scoring chart. The bottom of the page offers trivia and interesting notes.
The main story about that season’s Stanley Cup champion is placed on the opposite-facing page.
Lightning fans can enjoy Tampa Bay’s path to its Stanley Cup victory on pages 34-35.
Zweig has really dug into NHL lore to add some color and depth to this book. For example, the deal that brought Bert Olmstead to Toronto in 1958 cost the Maple Leafs the $15,000 waiver price — and whatever the price of dog food was that year. That’s because Montreal general manager Frank Selk demanded that the Leafs buy his boxer puppy. Toronto GM Stafford Smyth did just that, naming the puppy Duke.
More nuggets: Tommy Gorman is the only coach in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup with two different teams in back-to-back seasons: in 1933-34 with the Chicago Black Hawks and 1934-35 with the Montreal Maroons.
Zweig includes features about the rivalry between Montreal and Toronto, Hockey Digest articles (“The Game I’ll Never Forget”), the powerful Detroit Red Wings teams of the 1960s and Toronto’s early 1960s juggernaut, the Maple Leafs’ “Bashing” Bill Barolo, and the formative years of the NHL.
And of course, no history of the Stanley Cup would be complete without a feature story about Frederick Arthur Stanley — Lord Stanley.
History buffs will enjoy some of the team names through the years — the Toronto Blueshirts, Montreal Wanderers, Kenora Thistles, Winnipeg Victorias, Quebec Bulldogs and Vancouver Millionaires.
Fans of Phil Esposito will enjoy his firsthand account of his most memorable game (a Hockey Digest reprint from 1974) — Game 6 of the 1972 Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers, when Esposito’s Boston Bruins clinched the Cup with a 3-0 victory.
“There wasn’t any champagne that night. We had to settle for beer. But it tasted just as good,” Esposito told Hockey Digest writer George Vass. “Anytime you win, it’s sweet.”
For hockey fans, “Stanley Cup” is a definite winner.