Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Men In The Nets, The

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The Ryerson Press, 1967

When I was a kid, I got this book for my birthday. It prompted a fixation. I became obsessed with pre-expansion NHL goalies; the guys who wore no masks, played in crappy equipment, their insane masochism, their hideously scarred faces and tortured bodies, how they played for little money   even for that time, when there were only a handful of teams and the owners ran a kind of Stalinist oligarchy. The characters in the book are polar opposites of the media-friendly clones in today’s pro sports. These old time goalies were mostly taciturn and sometimes eccentric men, often nasty and hateful. And the large-format black and white negatives of the era resulted in some amazingly detailed photos, really stunning work. I haven’t a clue where you’d find this book nowadays, or even if The Ryerson Press exists any more but it’d be worth a search if you’re into what was really a strange and largely unexamined form of nihilism.