Sixteen years ago, Richard Harrison thrilled poetry and hockey lovers with a collection of poetry devoted to the great Canadian game. This beloved collection has been reissued with a new selection of poems titled “The Hero in Overtime,” an essay by the author on ten years of living with hockey poetry, and a foreword by Roy MacGregor.
“I was mesmerized by Harrison’s writing — his observation that Mark Messier’s stare 'weighs 200 pounds'; his descriptions of Don Cherry; his astonishing, yet accurate, comparison of hockey to Sumo wrestling — and I am delighted that, 10 years on, he is back with a new issue of Hero of the Play with all kinds of new writing to fascinate and intrigue and, most importantly, inspire those of us who profoundly believe it is impossible to know this country without knowing its game.” – Excerpt from Foreword
– for the team
A good game repairs the boy inside me – I mean a good
game as spoken of in the language of men. Everyone
knows – win or lose – you did what was asked, the guy
with the puck counted on you in position whether he
passed or not, and the one that rang off the post was still
hailed as a good shot in words heard round the rink;
when the better shooter says to you, Take it! This is
impersonal love, this movement of men on the ice,
thinking, talking all the time, playing the angles and each
other, the love the mind has for the body, the key for the
lock, the one men express for machines they’ve owned
that always started in the cold. Today, because of how
we felt, we let the game end in a tie. You don’t see that
every day, but one of us was leaving town next week,
and we couldn’t let him go with that good game dying
in victory or defeat.
Double Overtime (Adrienne Mercer, Monday Magazine, 6/10/2004).
"Harrison, who has written five books of poetry and is inspired by the work of Michael Ondeetje, makes a strong case for hockey as Canadian creation myth, while capturing both the poetry and the culture of the game."
Celebrating hockey's great deeds (Harry Vandervlist, Fast Forward, 3/11/2004).
"The book's enduring popularity testifies to the appeal of its subject, the tenacious faith in poetry shown by its publisher, Wolsak and Wynn, and to the artful but accessible qualities of what Harrison simply calls the 'hockey poem.'"
Other Titles by Richard Harrison
Worthy of his Fall (2005)
Big Breath of a Wish (1998)