Illustrated Children’s Hockey Book Is A Winner For Kids

Illustrated Children’s Hockey Book Is A Winner For Kids

children's hockey book

I recently had the opportunity read and review an adorable children’s hockey book: I’m Going To Be A Hockey Star written by A.L. Wegwerth and illustrated by Alana McCarthy. As soon as I started reading. I knew this delightful book was pure magic for young hockey fans. Vivid pictures and lively text capture the adventures of a boy attending his first youth hockey practice.

It’s a wonderful book for parents to read aloud to their little hockey players. Kids already on a team will relate to the authentic illustrations and text, and those nervous about their first day will learn what to expect so they can ease their jitters. Positive messages are sprinkled throughout the story such as “They’ll tell us that it’s OK to fall, and all that matters is that we get back up.”

This story is a winner, and I’m happy to feature an interview with the author, A.L. Wegwerth, who hails from Minnesota, the State of Hockey, and is what you might consider a pioneer in women’s hockey. She played high school and college hockey before an injury forced her to hang up her skates for a few years.

These days, you can find her on the ice either coaching youth hockey or playing a game of shinny in the backyard with her three kids. She is the author of four other books, including Hockey Talk: Sauce, Spinorama, and More Ice-Time Lingo, a book for die-hard hockey fans.

Tell me about your background in hockey. How did you get interested in the sport and how many years did you play?

Honestly, it was Mighty Ducks that got me and my twin sister interested in playing hockey. We started playing at an age that would be considered very late in today’s terms—fifteen years old. But it was when girls’ hockey was just starting to grow in Minnesota so it wasn’t unusual for the time. I played PeeWee hockey then on the high school team before playing four years of Division III hockey.

hockey kids books

What type of injury did you get and how long did it keep you off the ice?

I tore my labrum in my right shoulder—the first time I did it I was playing water volleyball. At this point, I was in my twenties and playing in a local women’s league. But I began to more frequently dislocate it playing hockey or even just moving my arm too fast. The first doctor I saw misdiagnosed my condition, so I thought I was just being a wimp. I would literally dislocate my shoulder during a hockey game then put it back in and go back out there to finish the game. Finally, I knew something wasn’t right so I found a different doctor and learned that I had, in fact, been dislocating it all along. I had my first surgery in 2009, and with a yearlong recovery, decided to hang up my skates for a while. Also playing into this decision was that my husband and I were looking to start a family. I ended up reinjuring my shoulder while on maternity leave with my second child, but held off on surgery until my third (and last) child was two years old. I knew how much time and effort went into coming back from a surgery like that, and that there was no way I’d be able to do it with an infant.

I only recently started playing again—I sub on the women’s team I used to play for. With three kids in hockey and two parents coaching, it’s too much to commit to playing full-time. But I imagine there will be a day when I’ll be back at it more regularly. For now, kids’ hockey practices and skating on our backyard rink will have to suffice.

What age do you coach and what do you like about coaching kids?

Right now I’m co-head coaching my oldest daughter’s 10U team and helping on my youngest daughter’s 8U team. One of the things I loved most about playing hockey was the friendships I made with my teammates and the life lessons I learned by playing. I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of this for my team(s).

As the only female on the coaching staff, the girls have told me I’m their favorite coach. It’s a lot of work to commit to coaching a team (I also work full time), but the main reason I do it is for the girls to see a woman in a position of power. I had very few female coaches growing up, and I want these girls to see the possibilities. Because if you can see it, you can be it.

hockey children's book

How did this picture book come about?

A former coworker started his own publishing company and approached me about a book he wanted for beginning hockey players to help alleviate the fears of a first hockey practice. I definitely saw a need for a book like that, but I also didn’t want the book to be dull or didactic. So I pitched him three and a half ideas of the direction the book might go. I say a half idea, because just before I was going to hit send, I had the start of an idea. (We had worked together in children’s publishing long enough that I knew he would know where I was going with it.) He responded to me really quickly saying he liked that half idea—a hockey player arrives at his first hockey practice and starts to imagine his life as a hockey star—and the rest is history.

What was your “goal” for the book? What do you hope children will get from reading it?

I love books with imagination, humor, and playfulness. For new hockey players, I hope this book gets them excited to play. And for all kids, I hope it inspires them to dream big—whatever their dream may be.

What advice would you give to young kids going to their first hockey practice? Do you find that most kids are nervous at first?

Have fun! The ice is going to be slippery and you’re probably going to fall. All that matters is that you get back up.

What advice do you have for parents whose kids are starting out with hockey?

Hockey is a big commitment for both the parents and the players. I’d make sure their player is having fun—focusing on their effort and how you enjoy watching them play and improve. I also like to focus on how good a teammate the player is. Do they pass? Do they cheer for their teammates?

And as a parent, I would encourage you to make friends with other parents. It makes the season and time commitment more enjoyable. I love our hockey family!

Do you think a lot of children have big dreams of playing professional hockey?

I think there is a segment of players that have a pipe dream of going pro, but probably like to imagine the possibilities of what might happen—scoring a game-winning goal, team winning the state tournament, etc. I love the freedom and possibility that comes with dreaming big, and that’s what I wanted to come through in this book.

The illustrations were adorable! What was it like seeing your story illustrated? Were there any surprises?

I was really lucky that I got to work with illustrator Alana McCarthy along the way. We had a conversation before she started, and I sent her some reference photos of my kids in their equipment. Despite being from Canada, she does not have a hockey background. So I helped review sketches to ensure things such as hand placement on stick and skating form were correct. Still, when I saw the final art I was blown away. The book has such personality and her color work is gorgeous.

One thing I was surprised to see was the mom featured in the background of many scenes. After I finished reading it to my then ten-year-old son, I very seriously asked, “Do you know who the real star of this book is?” He looked confused and said he did not. “It was the mom,” I said, “who took him to every practice and supported him every step of the way.” He just rolled his eyes and walked away. My humor is definitely underappreciated in my family.

Tell me about your other hockey books and who the audience is for those.

I have one book out right now titled, Hockey Talk: Sauce, Spinorama, and More Ice-Time Lingo that’s aimed at kids in grades 3-5.

Anything else you would like to add?

This book features a little boy with big hockey dreams. The decision to make the main character a boy was made after a conversation with my publisher. Yet the book features a diverse range of players—including female players and a female coach.

More About The Book

The very first hockey practice can be a little scary, but not if you are planning to be the world’s greatest hockey superstar! Follow the action and relish the dreams of a confident young boy as he begins his journey to hockey stardom. See what happens at a hockey practice, learn about the excitement and fun of the game, and experience the lovable chaos of the ice arena. With humor and a little bit of attitude, A.L. Wegwerth has written a great introduction to the sport, while Alana McCarthy’s vivid style brings the game to life for future hockey stars.

Aimed at kids ages 3-7, the story was published by River Horse Books.

Buy it on Amazon.


The Cup Coming Of Age Tale – A New Book For Hockey Fans

The Cup Coming Of Age Tale – A New Book For Hockey Fans

book for hockey fans

I wanted to share a new coming of age tale that fans of Face-Off and Offsides might enjoy.

A blizzard, a game, and a magical night!

In his new release The Cup, D.P. Hardwick takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of a game and childhood experiences. Follow the bizarre antics of a road hockey game in frigid Canada in the early 1970s when sports were still in the hands of the kids. Meet each lovable character as they navigate their lives and play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals…under a street light in front of their homes.

The Cup is a touching, nostalgic story of friendship, teamwork and unlikely heroes. As D.P. learned from his father and first coach, it’s not really about a game, it’s about life. D.P. says that he wanted to write for years, but he couldn’t finish the book until his ideas became an obsession, with stories pestering him. With The Cup, he tapped into his childhood experiences and tied it to an actual road hockey game that he and his neighborhood friends participated in on New Years Eve. He explains that the book is far more autobiographical then it is a novel.

“The book ties the game, the characters, connections with friends and family, music, and crazy adventures into a story that is really about inclusion and what friendship could really mean to individuals on the margin of society. Indeed, emotional connections just add to the entertaining events and lessons described in the story,”  he said.

What Reviewers Are Saying

“Author D.P. Hardwick alternates his recount of this game with his memories of the different players on the two teams. Through these memories, he touches on topics like bullying, the connection you can have with a beloved pet, the supernatural, etc. D.P. Hardwick also shares the valuable lessons he learned from his childhood, like loyalty, teamwork, respect for others, and the value of friendship. D.P. Hardwick made me long for my childhood and its simple pleasures through the memories he shares…readers will enjoy the links to the music shared through the narrative.” – Susan van der Walt, Reader’s Favorite.

“…a great adventure that is a hilarious, and often deeply touching, story down the memory lane of author D.P. Hardwick’s childhood…throughout the book, filled with vividly described scenes of the frigid Manitoba winters, there are many excellent stories that will both entertain, and make readers feel a bit nostalgic over their own childhood…Readers will also easily find themselves falling in love with all of the characters, and will root for their favorites…as they quickly devour all the author’s tales, and sometimes even a few life lessons, sprinkled throughout the story. What makes The Cup unique, and thus more enjoyable than the myriad of novels that inundate bookshelves everywhere, is the author’s well-thought-out inclusion of an extensive online playlist of songs that readers have the option to listen to during suggested times throughout the book…that made the story a lot more dynamic, realistic and just plain fun to read…For a fun-filled jaunt through the memories of D.P Hardwick’s childhood, The Cup is sure to entertain readers of all ages.” – Lynette Latzko, Feathered Quill.

The book was published by Atmosphere Press.

Buy it on Amazon.

Follow along with the playlist and listen to the songs as they appear in the book:

About the Author

Daniel Peter Hardwick holds a master’s degree in Sport Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from San Diego State University. He coached football for 21 years and is the Director of Athletics at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL. He is currently working on his next project: The Fisherman.


Offsides Ice Hockey Trailer On YouTube

Offsides Ice Hockey Trailer On YouTube

There’s a new ice hockey book trailer on YouTube – the video for my young adult novel, Offsides.

Face-Off’s McKendrick brothers return in this explosive sequel, an action-packed hockey book for teens and tweens.

Twin hockey stars T.J. and Brad have finally resolved their differences and forged a friendship on and off the ice. Now high school seniors, they focus on landing a commitment to a D1 school. What should have been the best year ever takes a nasty hit when the boys’ parents announce their divorce, and Brad makes a mistake that could impact his game eligibility. Meanwhile, T.J. faces off against their father, who opposes his decision to delay college and pursue junior hockey.

Adding to the tension are a rebellious kid brother, girlfriend trouble, and recruiting pressure. The turmoil threatens to drive the twins apart just when they need to work together the most. With a championship title and their futures at stake, T.J. and Brad must fight to keep from going offsides.

Watch the book trailer below for an introduction to Offsides. If you’ve already read the book, then I hope you enjoy seeing your favorite characters come to life. I’d appreciate it if you could give the video a like on YouTube and share it with anyone who might be interested.

Buy it on:


Barnes & Noble

Books A Million




Other Retailers and Subscription Services

Schools and libraries: You’ll also find it listed at OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, and other catalogs geared toward libraries.

Watch the Face-Off book trailer here.

Hockey Book Trailer: New Face-Off Video On YouTube

Hockey Book Trailer: New Face-Off Video On YouTube

There’s a new hockey book trailer on YouTube! I recently made a trailer for my young adult sports novel, Face-Off. Rival twin brothers battle on and off the ice in this dynamic young adult ice hockey novel written when I was just 16-years-old.

Discover why this compelling sports book for upper elementary age, middle school, and high school has appeared on so many reading lists including Best Books for Young Teen Readers Grades 7-10 and a list produced by the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Junior Education Program.

Watch the hockey book trailer below for an introduction to Face-Off. If you’ve already read the book, then I hope you enjoy seeing your favorite characters come to life. I’d appreciate it if you could give the video a like on YouTube and share it with anyone who might be interested.


Barnes & Noble

Books A Million




Other Retailers and Subscription Services

Schools and libraries: You’ll also find it listed at OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, and other catalogs geared toward libraries.

Watch the trailer for Offsides, the sequel to Face-Off.


10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

Hockey Rivals Books

Score A Goal For Reading
Buy Face-Off Now

10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

If you never know what to buy your favorite hockey mom, here are some literary ideas below. These 10 books make great gifts for hockey moms. They offer humor, art, knowledge of the game, emotional support, organizational tips, nutrition advice, and more. Click the title to purchase these books on Amazon.
Hockey Moms book

Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy by Jody M. Anderson (Author) and Scott Rolfs (Illustrator) – Hockey Moms… if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at? (Besides Soccer Moms!) This funny book pays tribute to Hockey Moms everywhere with hilarious illustrations, jokes and stories – including short funny stories from Hockey Moms and hockey greats, like Mike Eruzione! Finally, a hockey book that gives us the credit we deserve! (Well, okay, our kids deserve a little credit, too.

hockey mom resources

Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy: The Coloring Book by Jody M. Anderson (Author) and Scott Rolfs (Illustrator) – Hockey Moms ARE Crazy… About Coloring! Hockey Moms… We love our kids. We love hockey. We love to laugh. But when it comes time to relax, to reduce stress, and to enjoy some quiet time, we find peace in coloring. Of course, not just any coloring book will do. Even our creative time needs to be about hockey!

By popular demand, this coloring book collects 21 of your favorite cartoon gags from Jody M. Anderson’s Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy! Plus, you’ll find four new illustrations from artist Scott Rolfs that you’ve never seen before. Every illustration is on a one-sided page, so you can force your children to hang your artistic creations in their lockers.

Inside You’ll Find

  • 25 illustrations to color
  • hilarious captions
  • one-sided pages

books for hockey moms

The Rookie Hockey Mom: How to Play the Game’s Toughest Position by Melissa Walsh – There are over a million hockey moms in the United States and Canada, many of whom have jumped in without full awareness of how much time the sport requires, how much it costs, and how it is played. Here, in a book for that intrepid bunch, veteran hockey mom of four Melissa Walsh, who also coaches and plays recreational hockey, takes mothers by the glove through every aspect of the youth hockey journey.

Moms who think icing is for cakes and boards are for college will be saved embarrassing moments around the rink as Walsh educates them on the history, rules, etiquette, lingo, and officiating signals of a sport that is new to many parents. Chapters also cover purchasing and caring for equipment, tips on safety, development levels and guidelines, and advice for cooperating with coaches and other hockey parents. There’s great insight into connecting with youth hockey players, managing a team, choosing a league, and fueling young skaters with good nutrition. Salted with quotes from hockey players and moms who’ve been there and loaded with the wisdom that only a real hockey mom can offer, The Rookie Hockey Mom is a must for hockey-crazy families and the women who drive them everywhere. Updated for USA Hockey’s 2011-12 game rules for “progressive checking skill development.”

books for hockey parents

Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom by Angie Abdou – The author of the Canada Reads–nominated The Bone Cage tackles the ups and downs of amateur hockey, from a mother’s point of view. Over 570,000 people are registered in Hockey Canada and over 600,000 in Hockey USA. It’s a national obsession. But what does that really mean when your child wants to play on a team? As a former varsity athlete and university instructor teaching sport literature, novelist Angie Abdou is no stranger to sport obsession, but she finds herself conflicted when faced with the reality of the struggles, joys, and strains of having a child in amateur hockey. In Home Ice, with equal parts humour and anguish, Abdou charts a full season of life as an Atom-level hockey mom, from summer hockey camp to the end-of-season tournament. Her revealing stories and careful research on issues such as cost, gender bias, concussion, and family pressures offer a compellingly honest and complex insider’s view of parenting today’s young athlete in a competitive and high-pressure culture.

hockey mom gifts

Hockey Moms: Realities from the Rink: Introducing 20 Women You Already Know by Julie Bertuzzi (Author), Anthony Jenkins (Illustrator) – Julie Bertuzzi, the wife of NHL player Todd Bertuzzi and Hockey Mom extraordinaire, presents us with twenty hilarious portraits of the Hockey Moms we know and love. The perfect gift book for all seasons.

Straight-shooting, observant, and uproarious, Julie Bertuzzi’s Hockey Moms is an irreverent look at the many kinds of moms you are sure to find in the ice rinks, on the road, and in the hotel bars at tournaments across this hockey-loving continent. While always applauding the dedication of moms who support their players — at early morning practices and on long drives to and from tournaments, in the triumph of a big win and the heartache of a big loss — Bertuzzi pokes fun at herself and her fellow Hockey Moms, and brings alive the many characters she has observed during her years of experience as a Hockey Mom herself. Whether it’s Big Mouth Betty shrieking from the stands, the Drama Queen stirring up trouble in the bar after a tournament game, Team Manager Mom with her clipboard and team jacket, the Yodeler, or the Leaner, readers will recognize and delight in these familiar profiles. This is a quick, funny read and a must-have book for Hockey Moms, and those who love them, everywhere.

gifts for hockey moms

Lessons from Behind the Glass: The Journey of a Hockey Mom by Allyson Tufts – Whether you are about to lace up your child’s skates for the first time, or you have a young teen who is coming to the end of his or her Minor Hockey career, Lessons from Behind the Glass is the perfect companion to help you through your most crazy moments in the stands. From politics to perspective to passion, this book will help guide you to a balanced and less stressful life in the arena…and keep you laughing along the way!

hockey parent books

My Kids Play Hockey: Essential Advice for Every Hockey Parent by  Christie Casciano Burns – For the past several years veteran hockey mom Christie Casciano’s monthly Hockey Mom columns have been required reading for the half million readers of USA Hockey Magazine. Drawing on her twenty years in the youth hockey trenches, she brings a wit and wisdom that comes with spending countless hours in the rink. Mixing in a little cutting humor and some good old-fashioned motherly advice, her articles speak to and for grizzled veterans and newcomers to the sport alike.

My Kids Play Hockey is a compilation of Christie’s work. Some of her topics include:

  • Back to School, Back to Hockey: Getting Ready for a Fresh Season
  • How to Act Like an Adult at a Youth Hockey Game
  • Organizing Your Hockey Household
  • Valuable Lessons Learned during a Losing Season
  • Striking a Balance between being Coach and a Parent

hockey family resources

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey: 101 Stories about the Players Who Love the Game and the Families that Cheer Them On by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Laura Robinson –  You’ll love these inside looks at your favorite NHL players and personalities, the biggest games in hockey history, and all the everyday joys of your favorite sport! Meet the real Mark Messier—coaching kids in his hometown. Travel through the years with famous hockey sportscaster Brian McFarlane. Read about the kindness of Bobby Orr and a personal look at Mario Lemieux.

And in addition to all the stories by and about NHLers, you’ll read stories by fans and everyday players about big games and big plays; backyard rinks, pond hockey, and shinny games; growing up loving the game; and growing to love the game! You’ll also find inspiring stories by NHLers and Olympians about dedication, dreams, and drive, including:

  • Former NHL player Georges Laraque, “the gentle tough guy,” on how he persevered against racism to play the game he loves
  • Olympian Cassie Campbell-Pascall on how losing the gold medal at the first ever women’s hockey Olympic game made her and the team better, winning gold the next time
  • NHL player Vinny Prospal on how believing in himself and working hard pushed him through the minors into the pros, making his former GM “eat his shoes”
  • Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser on challenging herself by playing on a Finnish male team and inspiring another young female hockey player to be a star
  • NHL player Matt Duchene on his parents’ support and the sacrifices that helped him reach the NHL
  • Former NHL player Ryan Walter on the lifelong lessons he learned during his rookie season

hockey mom tips

The Hockey Mom’s Manual: What SportsMom Thinks You’d Like to Know by Laurel Phillips and Barbara Stahl – So, you thought that youth hockey would only impact your child’s life. Yep, we thought that too. Help is here! The Hockey Mom’s Manual spells out what you need to know about your child’s sports experience, including:
* the time, money, and equipment it takes
* which rules may trigger controversy
* the care and feeding of young athletes
* the behavior that’s expected (yours), and
* what’s ahead as your child gets older

Written for moms by moms, this handy how-to is a “heads-up” that can make your child’s hockey experience a better one for your athlete, your family, and you.

sports moms

Fueling Young Athletes by Heather Mangieri – Young athletes are always on the go. School, family, and sports eat up a lot of time. For parents and coaches, it can be a challenge to make sure kids are eating healthfully enough to perform at their best on and off the field. Fueling Young Athletes provides the help you need.

In this practical guide, Heather Mangieri—a sport dietitian and mother of three active kids—breaks down the nutrition needs of young athletes and explains what the latest research suggests. You’ll analyze current eating habits and preferences and how and where these can be improved. You’ll learn how healthier meals and snacks can equate to improved performance while still being convenient and appetizing.

Fueling Young Athletes addresses the issues that families and athletes most often face, such as late-night practices, inconvenient school lunchtimes, demanding tournament schedules and travel leagues, and lack of sleep. Best of all, you’ll find a collection of easy recipes for smoothies and sport drinks, all with common ingredients and nutrition information.


I hope you agree that these books will make terrific gifts for hockey moms. Do you have a book to add to the list? Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts in the comments.

New Bobby Orr Book Chronicles An Extraordinary Boston Bruins Legend

New Bobby Orr Book Chronicles An Extraordinary Boston Bruins Legend

Hockey Rivals Books

Score A Goal For Reading
Buy Face-Off Now

New Bobby Orr Book Chronicles An Extraordinary Boston Bruins Legend

As a lifelong Boston Bruins fans, I love Bobby Orr. That’s why I was delighted to see a new book out about his life and legendary hockey journey.

Kevin Vautour, a member of the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR) and the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society; and Kerry Keene, a freelance writer and lifelong follower of Boston sports, have published their book Number 4: Bobby Orr! a heartwarming account depicting the phenomenal life of Orr and his contribution to the world of hockey that inspires others with respect and determination.

Authors Vautour and Keene delve into the persona of one amazing hockey player and the era of Bruin’s greatest peak. Here is the blurb:

Bursting upon the National Hockey League scene in the fall of 1966 amid enormous hype and expectations, Robert Gordon “Bobby” Orr would go on to exceed all predictions of greatness. Displaying All-Star level ability from the start, it was his talent as a play maker and scorer that utterly revolutionized the game of hockey.

At the same time, Orr helped revive a tired, long-suffering Boston Bruins team, leading them to their first Stanley Cup in 29 years at the age of 22. Orr and his teammates would drink from the Cup again two years later as he continued to cement his legacy with MVP Awards and Norris Trophies. The unforgettable sight of him rushing the puck up ice with blond hair flying was a thing of sheer athletic beauty.

But Orr’s fragile knees plagued him throughout his career, ultimately forcing him to retire before the age of 30. But in his decade with the Bruins, the remarkable body of work and the greatness he achieved prompt many hockey historians to regard him as the all-around greatest, most skillful player in history.

Vautour and Keene state that, “May 10, 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the flying Orr goal that helped the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. That team and that goal inspired an entire region of men and woman, boys and girls to follow the game of hockey and the Boston Bruins.”

Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Kevin Vautour and Kerry Keene’s riveting tale presents an encouraging perspective that proves how one man can revolutionize the world with sheer passion and dedication for his chosen field.

Buy it on Amazon

For more information on Orr, visit his official website.

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