Friday, April 03, 2009

Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie

If you haven't heard about Rye, New Hampshire native, Bruce Valley's book - Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie - and you're a hockey fan, well then, you're missing out.

Bruce, who I was fortunate to meet and chat with after his interview during last week's Coach's Show with Dick Umile, tells a tale of growing up in post World War II New Hampshire. It's a story that any New Englander could relate to and any hockey fan would cherish.

At the age of 14, the young Mr. Valley takes to the ice to defend the net of the local amateur town team, the Rye Seahawks, composed mostly of World War II veterans. As the story winds along you can feel that bone-piercing New England cold and taste the crisp clean air - you almost want to squint to reduce the glare of the sun upon the snow. You can feel the bruises and see the diorama in living color as if it were before you - stark, deep and moving. A masterful, firsthand perspective on hockey as it was nearly a half-century ago.

From the book's cover, featuring an actual image of the author's mask with a picture of some of Valley's teammates from all those years ago seen through it, the tableau comes to life thanks to his vivid recollections. He reflects on post-war sentiments, a sense of community, aging, and how the value of sport - the necessity of a physical outlet and the pure enjoyment that it brings - runs through and connects all of these things and can span the years to link one generation to the next.

This book could make a hockey fan out of anybody and reminds the rest of us how sports and hockey should be.

I just have to say, thank you for this book, Bruce. As a hockey fan and goaltender myself, your words resonate with me.

All My Best,

Additional Notes:

The US Naval Academy, Bruce Valley's alma mater, is the collegiate sponsor for this year's Frozen Four in Washington, DC.

Be sure to keep your ears open for news of Mr. Valley suiting up to take on the Washington Capitals when they come together for their camps in the early fall.

From WMUR: New Hampshire Chronicle: Pond Hockey Book


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