Connor McDavid’s Rise, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Heyday: 11 Sports Books for Your Holiday Shopping List
The McDavid Effect: Connor McDavid and the New Hope for Hockey
Simon & Schuster
The veteran, Edmonton-based sports journalist followed Connor McDavid through his first season in the National Hockey League — the ups, the downs, the injury — but this book is about much more than the league’s most hyped prodigy since Sidney Crosby. It’s about Edmonton, the former City of Champions, and it’s about hope: hope that this teenager can reinvigorate not just the Oilers, but the city. An easy read, it’s based on dozens and dozens of interviews not only with McDavid but with hockey stars past and present.
99 Stories of the Game
Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day
Penguin Random House Canada
In an interview with Postmedia, the Edmonton Oilers legend was asked what he hoped readers would take away from this book, which was written to mark the 99th anniversary of the NHL. His answer? “This was just an opportunity for me to write about how wonderful and beautiful this game truly is. I just want people to realize how great of a game hockey is.” The target audience for this book no doubt knows how great the game is. What makes this book worth reading is the fact its filled with the thoughts and memories of the greatest player the game has ever seen.
The Original Six
The Original Six is subtitled How the Canadiens, Bruins, Rangers, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Red Wings Laid the Groundwork for Today’s NHL. Such a subtitle hints at the possibility of new ground within its pages, but instead, the reader is mostly taken through a cavalcade of NHL profiles from the days when guys named “Dit” played. There are plenty of historical facts on each of the original NHL franchises, as well. Easy reading and fun for anyone craving a reminder the Leafs were actually good once.
Miracle Moments in Montreal Canadiens History
Simon Schuster Canada
Miracle Moments in Montreal Canadiens History is the “first book of a new sports series” by Montreal native Jim Hynes. The author creates a fascinating profile of the NHL’s most successful and storied franchise by drawing on 24 specific moments in the team’s history. The book opens with a detailed summary of the team’s first season in 1909, including Joe Malone’s five-goal debut, and closes with a heartfelt recounting of the night the team celebrated its centennial. Well written. Fun to read bit-by-bit or front-to-back. Wonderful old photos printed on high-grade stock.
Change Up: How to Make the Great Game of Baseball Even Better
Buck Martinez with Dan Robson
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
You can almost hear the voice of Buck Martinez — long-time Blue Jays play-by-play announcer and former Major League catcher — as you read this book. And that’s a good thing. This is one knowledgeable and passionate baseball lifer’s take on America’s Pastime: what works, and what doesn’t, touching on everything from salaries and showcase skills to farm systems and team chemistry. He backs up his opinions with examples, many of them pulled from his days around the Blue Jays, making it particularly interesting for Canadian fans.
2016 World Series Champions: Chicago Cubs
Major League Baseball
McClelland & Stewart
The only keepsake of the Cubs’ World Series win produced by Major League Baseball, it features a spectacular selection of photos — more than 200 of them, some never published before. It also includes game-by-game recaps of the Cubs’ playoff run, profiles of team members and highlights from the 2016 season. Considering the 108-year wait between titles, it’s the perfect gift for fans of not only the Cubs but the game of baseball.
The Games: A Global History of the Olympics
Compared with some of the other books on this list, The Games is not the easiest read — it’s a long book, with more than 400 pages, plus footnotes. But it should be an enjoyable read for Olympic fans, particularly those whose interest goes beyond the sporting events themselves. Written chronologically, this book acknowledges the Olympics as a sports competition, touching on the Games’ greatest athletes from Jesse Owens to Usain Bolt, while also examining its social and historical significance. From race relations and gender politics to doping and soaring costs, Goldblatt pulls no punches.
The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family
The blurb on the inside of the book cover clearly sets out the tone for this book: “What the Kennedys are to politics, the Mannings are to football.” An expose it is not (sexual harassment allegations from Peyton Manning’s days at the University of Tennessee, for example, are confined to four pages and readers are left with the impression it was a prank gone bad). But Anderson, who spent 20 years writing for Sports Illustrated, knows how to tell a story and this is a very engaging book about football’s first family, packed with wonderful anecdotes and insights about Archie, Cooper, Peyton and Eli, as well as a handful of photos.
Belichick and Brady: Two Men, the Patriots, and How They Revolutionized Football
Of course, no year with a book on Peyton Manning would be complete without a book about Tom Brady. Holley, a veteran Boston sports writer and radio host, has written two other books about the Patriots — Patriot Reign and War Room — and according to those who’ve read all three, there is some repetition. But this book focuses on the relationship between the two men and how, together, they were able to achieve success like no other coach/quarterback duo while also weathering scandals, such as Deflategate. Holley could be accused of writing from the perspective of a Patriots fan, but it’s a well-researched and well-written book that should entertain football fans of all countries.
Chasing Perfection: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the High-Stakes Game of Creating an NBA Champion
De Capo Books
The Washington Post headlined their review of this book, “How data geeks are taking over basketball.” Indeed, this book takes Moneyball, last decade’s baseball bible, to an entirely new level with a new set of acronyms. It may be too much for the casual fan, but for the stats geeks and basketball diehards out there, it offers an interesting examination of how camera-tracking technology has allowed teams to collect date in real time to better manage all aspects of the game.
Long Road to Boston: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Marathon
Great River Media
The Ottawa-based writer and broadcaster self-published this book, which chronicles his quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Sutcliffe beat the qualifying standard by just 22 seconds, and this book is written from the perspective of a regular runner, rather than an elite. The book is in part a runner’s journal, but it also includes history and details about the Boston Marathon while offering life lessons, too. “Running has become an easy metaphor for me for a lot of things,” Sutcliffe told Postmedia.