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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > November 2017 > Line changes

Line changes

Professional hockey has some serious issues to be addressed – and a few players willing to tell their stories
Ken Dryden
SERGEY SMIRNOV

When the first puck of the 2017–18 NHL season drops at centre ice on Oct. 4, two things will be as certain as the likelihood that the Toronto Maple Leafs will break the hearts of their loyal fans: the National Hockey League will have to deal with some serious issues, and there is an ever-increasing appetite in Canada for books about hockey.

Hockey books are reliable bestsellers for publishers in the period leading up to Christmas, though Jim Gifford, editorial director for non-fiction at HarperCollins, notes that “issue books” rarely top the charts. Nor do what he calls “straight memoirs” by “clean players.” (The exception may be Wayne Gretzky, whose book 99: Stories of the Game was a top Canadian bestseller of 2016). Gifford says, “A lot of great players who are household names, unless there’s something really special about them, they are hard to differentiate from each other in the market, and they’re up against other books that are more compelling.”

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