Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey

UPDATE: Thanks for participating. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Justin M., our grand prize winner.

I have never played hockey myself, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big part of my life growing up. You see, I had two brothers, one older and one younger, and both played pee wee hockey. As a child I used to have to get up at some ungodly hour on Saturdays, sleep-eat my bowl of Cheerios and head to the hockey arena with my dad and brothers. I’m sure I probably didn’t really know what was going on, except for the fact that I knew once we got to the rink I would get hot chocolate. I would sip my steaming hot chocolate and cheer on my brothers. Whenever my dad hooted or hollered, I did. Looking back now, I cherish this one on one time I got with my dad. Hockey isn’t just a sport, it’s an activity that is associated with memories, feelings and a sense of community and it really does bring people together in many ways.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey is full of fun, heartwarming and inspiring stories for hockey fans and families. Family-oriented stories from everyday hockey players and fans, as well as revealing personal stories from NHLers and hockey insiders, will captivate readers.

Do you have an inspirational, amusing, or encouraging hockey-related story to share? It could be a story about: your first pair of skates, the street where you played ball hockey, tickets to a memorable game, or any thing that makes you think of our favourite national sport. We want to read it!

In 100 words or less, tell us your hockey story to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey and a $100 gift certificate to Sports Chek to go towards your next pair of skates.

Email your story to audrey@simonandschuster.ca (with the subject line: Hooked on Hockey) or leave it as a comment here and we will draw a winning story on November 1. We’ll also select 5 runners-up who will receive a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey. 

Contest is open to Canada only (excluding Quebec). By submitting a story you have agreed to our Official Rules, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Ten Reasons Why Books Make the Best Gifts (well, after puppies and private islands)

1)      Because other than those sparkly pencils and key chains with peoples’ names on them, books are one of the best gifts that you can find a uniquely suited one for every person on your list

2)      Because you don’t need to poke holes in the box so the book can breathe

3)      Because they are easier to wrap than a football or bicycle

4)      Because you can do all of your shopping in one spot

5)      Because you don’t have to feed them, plug them in, or put batteries in them

6)      Because “They have whole worlds inside them, and it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world.” –Neil Gaiman

7)      Because you can even find one for the person who has everything

8)      Because they never come in the wrong colour, size or style

9)      Because they don’t need to be assembled

10)   Because it shows the recipient that you took the time to think about who they are and what they are interested in

So what’s the trick? Picking the right book. Luckily for you, I have some suggestions for everyone on your holiday gift list.

For the Hockey Lover

Double Overtime

Double Overtime by Stephen Cole

Full of fun facts, crazy yet true stories, and chalk full pictures, this book is for every hockey fan of every team (even if you the gift-buyer don’t know anything about hockey!)

For the (New) Baker

 Baking with the Cake Boss

Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro

Buddy, from TLC’s smash hit Cake Boss, is back with another book. For the novice baker, this book starts with the basics of baking – the simple yet noble sugar cookie – and advances to fantastically intricate themed cakes for home-baking pros.  This is one gift that both the recipient and the giver are bound to benefit from!

For the Extraordinary Women in Your Life

 The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Strong, brave, resourceful, sensuous, caring, and giving – these are just some of the used words to describe the women of The Dovekeepers. A masterpiece that was five years in the making, the author of Practical Magic tells the beautiful and harrowing tale of four Jewish women in 70 C.E. Masada, Israel.

For Lovers of  iAnything

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs – the man who changed the world, whether we like it or not. Walter Isaacson’s biography, the only authorized biography of the Apple co-founder and innovator, tells the story of this intense personality whose drive for perfection can be seen in every one of his products and serves as a rollercoaster tale of ambition, obsessions, compulsion, creativity and innovation.

For Your Daughter, Niece or Little Sister

Dork Diaries Box Set

Dork Diaries Box Set by Rachel Renee Russell

This super popular series chronicles the oh-so-fabulous life of Nikki Maxwell as she navigates the halls of middle school, mean girls, BFF drama and first crushes. These spunky, funny, and relatable books are perfect for tween girl readers (and best of all, they are PG-rated so you don’t have to worry about your 11-year old niece reading vampire/immortal love scenes!).

For Almost Anyone (really, who doesn’t read Stephen King?)

11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King

The incredible Stephen King is back in a brand new way. In 11/22/63, King tells the ultimate “What If?” story. What if you could go back in time and change history? King’s suspenseful and riveting tale of time travel to one of America’s most epic periods in history will have readers on the edge of their seats until the last page is turned.

The New YA Must-Have

 Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

With so many YA vampire/werewolf/warlock/immortal, etc, etc, etc books out there, it’s hard for the discerning gift-giver to know which one to choose for the teen on their list. Well look no further – Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series left young women begging for another adventure to go on, bad-boy to drool over, and smart, brave girl to read about, and with the second of the Infernal Devices series, Clare delivers.

For the 20-something Student

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)

 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by Matthew Inman

Perfect for the quirky-humored, google-searching  20-something, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) offers up 4 Reasons to Carry a Shovel at All Times, 6 Types of Crappy Hugs, 8 Ways to Tell if Your Loved One Plans to Eat You, 17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat, and 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer.

Literary Non-Fiction

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean

If you can’t get someone a puppy for Christmas, get this book instead. Rin Tin Tin has been getting rave reviews and for good reason. Whether you love dogs, old Hollywood, the entrepreneurs behind entertainment, biographies, history, or just a wonderfully written story, Rin Tin Tin delivers.

For the Book Club Lover

The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Witchcraft, royalty, betrayal and passion, The Lady of the Rivers delivers it all. This book, to be enjoyed in front of a fireplace and with a cup of tea, is sure to keep your favorite aunt, sister or friend company this holiday season.

Brain Food

Grand Pursuit

Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar

In this epic yet readable narrative modern economics, Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, tells the of how activist thinkers like Marx, Sydney Fisher, Irving Fisher, and Milton Friedman transformed not just the Western world, but the entire planet.

The New Children’s Classic

The Man in the Moon

 The Man in the Moon by William Joyce

“Meet the very first guardian of childhood, MiM, the Man in the Moon.” A beautiful and tender story of love, adventure, and enchantment, The Man in the Moon, will capture hearts both young and old.

Calling all hockey fans!

With the premiere game of the 2011 NHL hockey season just days away, this is the perfect time to let everyone know about the must have hockey book of the year, Double Overtime: The Hockey Fan’s Ultimate Hockey Book by Stephen Cole.

Double Overtime tours the wild, weird, and truly wonderful moments from all of your favorite teams. Full of great stories, fun facts, and packed with pictures, this book will definitely surprise even the most hardcore hockey fans.

In preparation for the release of this book we have created a special website. At www.doubleovertime.ca you can browse inside the book, win a copy by entering our caption contest or participate in our Flickr forum. This can be through conversations with fellow fans or by uploading your own hockey photos to share with the group. In fact, the more photos you upload the better, as submissions will be considered for inclusion in the 2012 edition of the book!

So what are you waiting for!?! Visit www.doubleovertime.ca now and join in the hockey fever.

Double Overtime is in stores October 25th

HFI pub party

The HFI hockey pool party contest was a great success with almost 100 entries!

The lucky winner, Sean McDermott, was thrilled. He found out about the contest through an e-newsletter from our media parter Toro Magazine.

Last night my colleague and I, Sean and his 8 friends, and Rob Higgins, congregated at The Bottom Line sports bar at Yonge and Front. It was a fantastic venue for our event and owner Wayne Cowley (former NHL-er) was a gracious host and provided us with a prix fixe menu that included such delicious items as Kobe beef burgers and oven roasted chicken with Portobello mushrooms!

Over beers, and interspersed with conversation about the upcoming NHL season, Rob helped the members of Sean’s pool make their drafts for their hockey pool offering sage advice and words of wisdom about which players to choose…and which to avoid!

Rob’s book is now displayed front and center behind the bar and he personalized copies for everyone. All in attendance left totally pumped about the book and ready to spread the word about Rob and HFI.

Do you want to know more about Higgins Hockey Fantasy Index? Click here for more info.

And don’t forget to check out Rob’s band Dearly Beloved on their website.

One of the winner's Joe, a converted fan

Max and Wayne Cowley (owner of The Bottom Line)

Rob offering advice

Rob laying down the law

Rob happily signing copies

Myself, Rob and Max

The winning group

Win dinner with Rob Higgins for your fantasy hockey league!

Rob Higgins doesn’t think he can help you win your hockey pool – he knows he can help. “Shenanigans,” you’re thinking. “Fool’s gold,” you’re assuming. With all the stats and injuries and real-life trades, a fantasy-win might seem more luck than anything. But, believe in Rob.  As co-host of XM Radio’s The Point: Fantasy Friday, Fantasy Hockey Columnist for The Toronto Sun, and lifelong fantasy junkie, he actually manages to make a real living off make-believe GM’ing. It’s not magic. Rob just watches a lot of games. A lot of them.

Oh, and those aren’t empty hours since they birthed the unequivocal greatest contribution to fantasy hockey ever: Higgins Hockey Fantasy Index, a rational, tried and tested, stat-based approach to fantasy. HFI measures the entire stat-pack. It’s not just about goals and assists, but more obscure and deceptively important numbers too, from blocked shots to takeaways. HFI tells you about players in their team context. HFI helps recognize not just the stars like Ovechkin and Thornton who finish five-man rushes. HFI gives props to the grinder who starts the break, the guy whose plus / minus is a diamond in the rough.  Round 1 and round 2 are easy. Round 4 and after is what really counts.

So let Rob drop you some knowledge. Listen and learn as he points out those players that are “Sick, Sick, Sick” (tier 1 beasts like the Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith or the Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom), “Cherry Picks” (tier 2 guys, the personification of productivity and consistency; think Milan Hejduk of the Avalanche or Toronto’s Phil Kessel), or “Foxy by Proxy” (tier 3 guys that need the right context – say the right blue line partners – to succeed). Oh and keep away from those “Cherry Bombs”, dudes that stank of risk. Two words: Alexi Kovalev.

What are you waiting for? If you’re in the GTA click here to enter our contest now and let Rob help you dominate your league this season!

Please take a moment to visit our media sponsor’s website

Visit Rob’s blog at www.HigginsHFI.blogspot.com or follow him on Twitter @higgy2112