There are many beliefs as to why the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t seen the Stanley Cup in 50 years.
As Kevin Gibson writes, there are a number of well-thought-out conspiracy theories as to what curses are holding the team back.
Of Myths & Sticks is Gibson’s first book. It is the result of years of research and analysis of the game of hockey, on top of other sports.
A resident of Whitby, Gibson started teaching at Centennial College in 2015, where he teaches broadcast students some of the research skills he’s gained to compliment television and radio stories.
His publisher, Douglas & McIntyre, describes Gibson as “TSN’s one-man research, stats and information department.”
If his 10 years with the network aren’t enough proof, Of Myths & Sticks proves, if nothing else, the man knows hockey.
As the epic title implies, the book looks to set the record straight on some of the biggest myths that surround the game. It also delivers some facts and stats even the biggest puck fans might not know, like the fact Craig MacTarvish was the last player to play without a helmet.
It also looks to settle a few scores. Who had the first Stanley Cup hat trick in NHL history? Some say it was Toronto’s Alf Skinner in 1918, but consider this debate put to rest. Per Gibson’s research, Skinner only had two goals that game while Newsy Lalonde of the Montreal Canadiens net three goals on March 22, 1919.
Gibson writes in a voice readers might be used to hearing from a buddy while talking over a beer: a buddy who knows everything about hockey.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the book is as dedicated to the game as the players named within. The book’s cover art resembles a hockey card and even the blank leaves of the book are printed with a minimalistic pattern of hockey paraphernalia: skates, pucks, sticks and helmets.
Perhaps Of Myths & Sticks’ greatest feature is the well-thought-out and neatly organized ‘On This Date’ chapter.
Organized by month, Gibson has hand-picked a moment in hockey history for every single day of the year. Remarkably, even the summer months.
On March 7 in 1998, Wayne Gretzky scored his 1000th NHL goal with the New York Rangers, but they lost 6-3 to the New Jersey Devils.
In a world where all hockey stat books seem to have fallen into a rut of prioritizing historical education over reader amusement, Of Myths & Sticks is the blast of cool air that hits your face when you first step on the ice. A refreshing and welcome change.
This is the 100th year of the NHL. Hockey fans have no shortage of books to pick up: from John Scott’s A Guy Like Me to D’arcy Jenish’s in-depth The NHL: A Centennial History.
If you’re hoping to brush up on your knowledge of the game, look no further than Of Myths & Sticks.
If you can’t get enough Gibson, he can be found on Twitter, where he posts facts and info pertinent to the world of sports.