Monday, September 30, 2013

Review of "Leafs Abomination"

Just in time for hockey season - a book on one of the Original Six franchises.  Not a bad book, but I was hoping for better.

“Leafs Abomination” by Dave Feschuk & Michael Grange

Ice hockey, professional, Maple Leafs

August 11, 2009

288 pages

3 of 5 stars (okay)

Fans and even writers can feel frustrated when their favorite teams are performing poorly for a long period of time.   For this author, he is frustrated that the Toronto Maple Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, yet continually manage to turn a profit.   This book is the author’s take on why the Leafs have had such a long drought and the various players, coaches, general managers and other key personnel who have contributed to this long period without a championship.

It is an interesting book if one wants to learn a few things about running a sports franchise.  It also does illustrate quite nicely how the “group think” mentality of running a team doesn’t work as well as it does in the corporate world.  The various groups who have overseen the team (including the administration of a teachers’ pension fund) have been working against each other over the years.  At times this was deliberate, at others it was simply not knowing what others were doing.   The player transactions that seemed questionable are also used by the author in order to show the troubles the franchise has had.

While the reasons are numerous, the solutions do not seem to come as easily.   Instead of offering solutions and what can the team do to improve its lot, the book reads more like a history of all the transgressions of the franchise.   While that is okay, I was hoping to at least read about more solutions, even if they would be pie-in-the-sky wishes.  After all, this was written from the perspective of a fan, and don’t hardcore fans know what is best for their team?  They certainly do – just ask them.

Therefore, the book overall rates as an okay read for learning a little history on the franchise and some insight into the inner workings of the front office.  Otherwise, I felt that a lot was missing from a book that had the potential to be one that would generate conversation – instead I felt it just generated more questions. 

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
Good.  It moved along well and was entertaining.

The inner workings of the front office of a professional sports franchise was illustrated quite nicely.  It did get confusing at times, but that is because of the number of people involved in the decision, and in the case of the Maple Leafs, the committees and organizations such as the Teacher Pension that made it dizzying at times.

Because I follow another NHL team, I felt that this was far too Toronto-centric.  The title would lead one to believe that, but from past reading experience, I felt that there would be more general discussions on how to improve the team, such as what other franchises did.  But unless you followed the Maple Leafs closely, it was easy to get lost by all the talk of situations that were unique to only the Maple Leafs.

Do I recommend? 
Yes, but only for Maple Leafs fans.  Hockey fans that are fans of other teams may not be very interested in the inner workings of a rival team.

Book Format Read:
EBook (Adobe Reader)

Buying Links:

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