For those of us from parts of the world where temperatures dip below freezing, hockey is a game that is often played outdoors. Most have fond memories of makeshift games on frozen bodies of water or outdoor rinks exposed to the elements. But Professional Hockey demands the predictability of controlled conditions and that is only obtainable indoors. So when the NHL decided to move the game back outside, allowing the natural elements to come into play, it was a big deal. That simple conceptual move sparked a sense memory for a lot of former “snow day” kids, bringing back a certain childhood magic to the game that can get lost in tamed arenas. The Winter Classic became a specialty event unlike any other.
Everything you would want to know about this great event can be found in Russ Cohen and Michael del Tufo’s excellent book “The Winter Classic : The NHL’s Savior. “ All the details of the event from a behind the scenes look at how to the rinks are set up and maintained, to alumni and current player reactions to dealing with outdoor elements while playing on one of the fastest and most difficult playing surfaces of any sport, to a blow by blow account of all of the past Winter Classics and venues, 2008 to the present, can be found in this book.
Normally with a book that spans the years, authors will compile outside research to formulate their writing but Cohen and Tufo have the unique perspective of having attended all the Winter Classics. They do a masterful job of combining first person accounts with press conference quotes which allows this book to transcend what either a memoir or an almanac could offer alone, becoming the definitive and complete Winter Classic resource.
One can easily tell that Cohen and Tufo love the game as the book is a quick, easy and enjoyable read. It includes plenty of pictures as well, some of the best being their own personal photos, some even taken while on the ice.
“The Winter Classic : The NHL’s Savior” by Russ Cohen and Michael del Tufo can be found at most bookstores and online through retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble in both hard copy and electronic form.