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Golden Oldies: Stories of Hockey's Heroes

240 pages3 hours


From its moving introductory homage to the late Jean Beliveau, to its subtle, remarkable considerations of how the sport was shaped by legends like Newsy Lalonde, Gordie Howe, Dick Irvin, Ted Kennedy and Hobey Baker, to its poignant lament for the untimely death of American hockey hero “Badger” Bob Johnston, Golden Oldies is the product of a lifetime love of hockey and a career in the game that spans six decades.

A brilliant addition to Brian McFarlane’s epic hockey canon, Golden Oldies explores the life of Sprague Cleghorn, a pioneer bad man who went from the bright lights of Broadway to a boondock in the Ottawa Valley, to stardom before and during the first years of the NHL. It follows the trail of Patsy Guzzo and his RCAF mates in 1948, ridiculed at home but rewarded with Olympic gold in Europe. And it chronicles the career-ending injuries to Ace Bailey, the last Leafs’ NHL scoring leader, the shameful treatment of the Canucks’ Mike Robitaille, and the horrific and near fatal injury suffered by Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk.

Golden Oldies is also filled with fascinating stories of the great gentlemen of the game, like Leo Dandurand who bought the Montreal Canadiens—for 11 grand—and insight into the giving and philanthropic spirit of beloved stars like Bobby Baun. Always entertaining, the lighter side of the game is also well represented, with laughs aplenty supplied by men like the irrepressible Frank “King” Clancy and the unpredictable Eddie “Clear the Track” Shack.

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