We’ve scoured all of the bookshelves for the best books for hockey players, hockey coaches, and hockey fans. Plus, we’ve added some of our favorites we’ve read to create our ultimate list of the 18 Best Hockey Books That You Must Read.
Whether you’re a mucker, grinder, stay-at-home defenseman or a sniper, there’s one thing that all hockey players share in common: The love for the game. Whether its a great story about a player’s climb to success or how a team came together to overcome surmounting odds to be victorious, hockey players love hearing a great story.
So, we’ve compiled our list of some of the best books around about the greatest game on earth. Some of these hockey books are memoirs from a player’s perspective and some of them will teach you how to be a better hockey player or coach. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for gifts for hockey players, each one of the books on this list is going to entertain.
18 Best Hockey Books That You Must Read
In a story of the greatest upset in sports history, The Boys Of Winter takes you back to the 1980 Olympic Games and tells the true story of how a bunch of rag-tag college kids ended up beating the best hockey team in the world. This book follows the 1980 Miracle on Ice from start to finish and will leave you inspired when you learn about the dedication, sacrifice, and commitment that the members of the 1980 Men’s USA Olympic Hockey Team gave to their teammates – all for a unknown, long shot “what-if” pipe dream. The Boys of Winter is a truly inspirational hockey book, and one that all serious hockey players must read.
99: Stories of the Game
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the game of hockey than by reading about it from the perspective of Wayne Gretzky. In 99: Stories of the Game, the greatest hockey player who has ever lived explains what the game looks like to him and discusses all of the influential coaches and mentors he had along the way of becoming The Great One. This warm & direct book takes you deep into the life of Wayne Gretzky through his own stories and allows you access to both the man and the hockey player like never before.
Mr. Hockey: My Story
Known as one of the greatest and toughest players to play the game, the sport of hockey will most likely never see a player like Gordie Howe ever again. Known as “Mr. Hockey”, Howe won 4 Stanley Cups while playing in five different decades and rewrote the record books through being one of the most intense competitors that the hockey world has ever seen. In Mr. Hockey, Howe tells his story through his own voice, allowing you to enter the life of one of the most intense, kind, and honest players to ever play in the NHL.
Bobby Orr, who is often referred to as the greatest defenseman to ever lace up the skates, is another hockey legend with a captivating memoir. In Orr: My Story, Bobby Orr reveals what inspired and motivated him to reach the top of his game. In this memoir, Orr reveals many life lessons he’s learned as he was propelled from small-town Canada into the media spotlight. Full of captivating stories from his career and lessons he’s learned along the way, Orr’s unique memoir is one of the best hockey books that any hockey fan would enjoy.
Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches
You see them pacing back and forth behind the bench during games, but what really goes through the minds of the greatest coaches in the world? Well, you can find out in Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches. In this book, author Craig Custance sits down for film sessions and conversations with some of the greatest hockey coaches from the past decade. This book covers everything from leadership to on-ice systems and strategies, making it one of the best hockey books for coaches. You’lllearn how they manage their dressing room, change lines, instill their philosophy, and know when it’s time to have fun and allow your players to enjoy the game. It’s the perfect book for aspiring coaches that are trying to add to their coaching craft.
In order to become an elite hockey player, you have to master the mental game on top of the physical game. Hockey Tough is one of the best hockey books to allows you to learn peak performance in the game of ice hockey through mental focus. Readers will learn exercises from Dr. Saul L. Miller on how to maintain composure, stay focused in the clutch, and apply themselves daily towards reaching their ultimate goal. With input and testimonials from some of the best players in the NHL, Hockey Tough is an amazing resource for players that are working on becoming the best player they can possibly be.
How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life
Do you ever wonder how elite families create an environment where not one, but all of their children become elite athletes? In How We Did It, father Karl Subban tells his inspiring story of how his three sons – P.K., Malcom, and Jordan – made it from the backyard hockey rink to the NHL. You’ll learn all about the Subban family’s story and learn how to apply the same principles that Karl used to help his children identify, pursue, and eventually live their dreams of playing in the NHL. This is one of the best hockey books for parents whom are looking for advice as they navigate through their child’s developing career.
A Guy Like Me: Fighting To Make The Cut
If you’re looking for an underdog story, look no further than A Guy Like Me by John Scott, which is one of the best hockey books you can read about a player that just never gave up. Scott’s story of becoming a joke All-Star fan-voted nominee to winning the All-Star game’s MVP award is a motivating story about a willing-and-able bruiser that became an overnight fan favorite. In A Guy Like Me, you’ll go behind the scenes and learn all about the turmoil and adversity that Scott faced after being voted into the All-Star Game as a joke, and the triumph he experienced once he was allowed to play.
Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage and Triumph
Travis Roy worked his entire life to earn a scholarship to play for the Men’s Hockey Team at Boston University. However, all it took was eleven seconds in his first college hockey game to have it all taken away. Travis Roy’s unique story of tragedy and triumph is a captivating tale of a young man and his battle to overcome enormous barriers to start a new life. If you’re looking for a story to help put life in perspective, Eleven Seconds is one of the best hockey books that you can read.
Journeyman: The Many Triumphs (and Even More Defeats) Of A Guy Who’s Seen Everything In The Game of Hockey
There are many different paths to the NHL, and none of them is tougher than the path of a Journeyman. In one of the best hockey books about perseverance, Sean Pronger tells his hilarious stories working his way through the minor leagues in pursuit of his dream to play in the NHL. Pronger’s story shares what its like for players that literally have to fight for their job every night, as well as the fun and debauchery that they have along the way.
All the Way: My Life On the Ice
In his compelling story of overcoming adversity while progressing through to the NHL, Jordan Tootoo will draw you into his life in All the Way: My Life on Ice. Throughout his entire hockey journey, Tootoo faced more than his fair share of challenges and adversity along the way. Jordan’s honest story of dealing with the loss of family members, battling depression, and battling alcohol addiction is one of the best hockey books that you can read about one man’s desire to truly thrive despite all of his obstacles.
Patrick O’Sullivan was arguably one of the most talented hockey players in North America while he was growing up. His ability to play hockey is what garnered interest from NHL scouts and made him seem destined to become one of tomorrow’s stars in the NHL. However, despite his flourishing ability on the ice he had an enormous force that was holding him back – his father. As an over-involved and self motivated sports parent, Patrick’s father was seen throughout the rinks shouting at his child from the top of his lungs. In Breaking Away, O’Sullivan tells his story about his father’s violent physical abuse and the dysfunction he experienced, making it one of the most captivating hockey books that you can read.
Tie Domi was one of the most prolific and glorified fighters during his career in the NHL. Over the course of sixteen seasons, Domi amassed 333 fights and made a career out of protecting his teammates. In Shift Work, Tie Domi revisits his career on and off the ice and reveals all of the lessons he has learned – both as a player and a person – in dedicating his life to the game he loves. Shift Work is one of those hockey books you won’t be able to put down as it honestly dives into the way Tie saw his career through his own eyes.
Odd Man Rush: A Harvard Kid’s Hockey Odyssey from Central Park to Somewhere in Sweden—with Stops along the Way
If you’re looking for some hockey books that provide you with endless entertainment, you need to pick up Odd Man Rush from Bill Keenan. Keenan’s unique & inspiring story tells of how he overcame the odds to find redemption in the world of European minor-league professional hockey. Filled with hilarious stories from his experience of playing in Europe, Odd Man Rush is filled with stories of abusive fans and long bus rides through the backroads of Europe as Keenan continues on his quest of playing professional hockey at the highest level possible. A story about “living the dream” and the work that it requires to keep it alive, Odd Man Rush is truly one of the best hockey books out there that anyone who is a fan of the game must read.
Former NHL Coach and legendary TV analyst Don Cherry has never been known to pull his punches. And, in his book Straight Up and Personal: The World According to Grapes, Cherry doesn’t hold back in his opinion on a variety of topics – both in and out of hockey – making it one of the best hockey books that any hockey fan will enjoy reading. Cherry’s Straight Up and Personal is one of those hockey books that will leave you laughing, nodding, and entertained from his unique hockey stories and colorful experiences he has had throughout his career.
Sean Avery was one of the most controversial and polarizing hockey players for more than thirteen seasons in the NHL. His gritty, tough, and controversial style of play is what made him one of the most loved and most hated fans in the game. In his memoir, Ice Capades, Avery speaks candidly about the life of a player in the NHL. Everything from spending off days to spending money, Avery counts the day-to-day life of NHL players that explains how they stay sharp and competitive throughout their career. Whether you love him or hate him, Avery’s Ice Capades offers readers a rare peek into the world of NHL athletes today.
Patrick Roy: Winning. Nothing Else.
Arguably one of the greatest goaltenders to play in the NHL, Patrick Roy was always a candid and animated character that fans came to love and hate. Winning. Nothing Else. offers a unique look into Roy’s life as an elite goaltender through a unique perspective: through the eyes of his father. Michael Roy reveals what drove Patrick Roy to be one of the best goaltenders that the NHL has ever seen, making it one of the best hockey books for players who are aspiring to play at the highest level. It’s a beautifully told story about a confident, committed, and sometimes complicated elite player that achieved greatness.
Leave No Doubt – Mike Babcock
If you’re looking for one of the best hockey books for coaches, then you need to look no further than Leave No Doubt by Mike Babcock. In this amazing book for hockey coaches and players, Babcock provides readers with an inspiring blueprint for anyone who wants to achieve their dreams. This is one of the best hockey books that you can read about life, owning pressure, making every day count, and having the determination to stick to achieving your dreams. Babcock’s unique credo “Leave No Doubt” is based on his firm belief in his philosophy, making it one of the best motivational hockey books that you can read.
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