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November 3, 2010

Steve Duncan loves hockey. He lives, eats and breathes the game. He coaches hockey – as he has for the past 10 years. He plays hockey. And he serves as the co-ordinator of an adult hockey league in Cambridge, Ontario. Of course, all that hockey activity does not make him a hockey expert – he does, after all, cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not won a Stanley Cup since sometime in the last century!!

But still, as an active participant in recreational hockey, Duncan has seen it all. He's seen the Gretzky wannabes, he's seen the guys still playing in their 1974 Philly Flyers Cooperalls, he's seen the mullet-heads, and the locker-room dreamers who think the stands are filled with National Hockey League scouts.

He's seen the team drunk in action on the ice; he's seen the "Klima" – the cheap guy with the ancient Petr Klima helmet who refuses to shell out 50 bucks for something a bit more modern; and yes, he has seen the Naked Guy, the guy with the lousy body who engages his teammates in face-to-face chit-chat only after he has peeled off all his equipment. And, of course, he has more than a passing familiarity with the Puck Hog, the Ladies Man, the Pylon, and the Mama's Boy.

Duncan not only plays the game, but he's got a keen eye for the detail of the sport, especially the "old-guy" version of the sport. He's put his love of the game – and its crazy cast of characters – into a newly released publication entitled The Beer League Hockey Handbook, a must-have for hockey players of all ages who have a helmet but no hair underneath. It's the game itself – and the dressing-room camaraderie – that draws these guys to their regular Thursday night ice-time slot, but what really drives them is the fun afterward, the sharing of old war stories and what-might-have-been tales over a couple of ice-cold brewskis at the local watering house.

Make no mistake: The Beer League Hockey Handbook is more fun-based than fact-based. The Handbook mentions Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin only in passing – it's too busy celebrating the antics of the 30-something local hockey "legends" to concern itself even remotely with the true superstars of the game. The Beer League Hockey Handbook, in fact, would make a great hockey gift – the kind of thing that an oldtimers' league might pass out to its players at the start of a new season in October; or the kind of thing that a wife with a wicked sense of humour would offer to her loving, unsuspecting spouse for Christmas.

That's the spirit in which The Beer League Hockey Handbook is written – it's fun, it's frivolous, and it's unfailingly right on the mark when it comes to those hockey legends we all know and love: the old guys who may have lost a step on the ice, but haven't lost their child-like love of the game itself.

The Beer League Hockey Handbook
by Steve Duncan

ISBN: 9780986541209

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