Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hockey Night in Victoria

Lorna Jackson is reading tonight at the League of Hockey Nations Conference in Victoria. For details, please check out:

Whether she'll be reading from this fall's Cold-cocked: On Hockey or next Spring's Flirts: The Interviews (with her Bobby Orr and Janet Jones Gretzky "interviews") I'm not certain.

She's also in good company: Mark Anthony Jarman, Bill Gaston, and Stephen Brunt, among others. I've been meaning to read Jarman's Salvage King Ya! for years. Saw it recently on a friend's shelf, and I think I will order it as soon as I finish this post.

Cold-cocked is a fabulous hockey book, perhaps the first book-length NHL fan appreciation by a woman. More importantly, Jackson is smart, sassy and in-tune, and presents a much more interesting portrait of the sport as the complex creature it is than almost anything else I've looked at on the subject. It has me following the sport closely again for the first time in years, appreciating things about it I'd forgotten, or never noticed in the first place.

A small taste of Cold-cocked:

"Vancouver is a hockey town though easterners don't see it that way and never have. We fill the seats at the Garage night after night, and still a player or owner or Toronto broadcaster crowns Toronto the country's hockey mecca and claims the game for themselves. We are told that hockey fans grew up playing on frozen ponds; that hockey as Canadian identity stems from the bitter cold winters, the ice and snow, the flatness of the landscape and the vast horizon of winter. Fuck that noise. Joe Sakic, Brendan Morrison, Paul Kariya, Scott Hannan, Cam Neely, the Courtnalls, not to mention players who found ice elsewhere in this temperate province -- Port McNeil, Kelowna. It's a little like claiming country music only lives and breathes in Nashville: good for Nashville, but a lie. Ask Keith Urban from Australia. Ask Ian Tyson who grew up on Vancouver Island. You want ice? Thirteen thousand years ago, it was 1500 metres deep where downtown Vancouver stands, but the ice age ended. We moved on."

For a couple days, at least, Victoria B.C. is the literary hockey capital of Canada, and I, for one, wish that I could be there.

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