“One Night Only: Conversations with the NHL One-Game Wonders” by Ken Reid
Ice hockey, professional, short stories
October 11, 2016
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Every youngster who laces up a pair of ice skates and grabs a hockey stick has the same dream – to get a chance to play at least one game in the NHL This book by Ken Reid tells the story of 39 men who lived that dream and did that - played just one game in the NHL. From the poignant to the hilarious, there are so many different paths these men took not only to get to that one special night, but also the lives they lead after that brief moment.
All eras, from the days of the Original Six to the current league of 30 teams, are represented by these stories. The emotions of the men run the gamut as well, from very happy that there was that one game to the very frustrated, such as Ken Duggan’s not-so-kind words about Phil Esposito and his handling of the New York Rangers.
There are some similarities for most of the stories – many of these one-game wonders had to make a mad dash from their current location in the minor leagues to get to the city where the NHL team was playing that same day. There are also many of them who were able to participate in pre-game skates in other games, but were healthy scratches and then sent back to the minors. Nearly every player continued in the game in some manner after their one appearance in the NHL, either in the minor leagues or overseas.
No matter the situation or what the player did after that night, I found each story entertaining and to a man, every one of them said that they enjoyed the experience. There were two stories that I enjoyed in particular, both for very different reasons. One was the story of Dean Morton. While he appeared in only one game as an NHL player, he is now in many more games every season as a referee. That is quite an adventure how he made it back to the league in a different role. The other story that I enjoyed is that of Brad Fast, who appeared in a late season game in 2004 for the Carolina Hurricanes. He is the answer to a historical trivia question that I will not give away here – that piece of trivia is found in the book.
Overall this book is a fun, entertaining read that can be read easily in short spurts as each story is both alike and unique. Hockey fans will enjoy the ride taken with each of these men as they relive their adventures taken to enjoy that brief moment in the spotlight.
I wish to thank ECW Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Format Read:
Buying links (pre-order at time of posting):