Hockey Superstars 2018-2019
Hockey Superstars 2018-2019
It’s hard to believe now, but when NHL Central Scouting, which evaluates and ranks players for
each NHL draft, was ranking the top 36 goalies in North America eligible for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Connor Hellebuyck not only wasn’t ranked in the top 10, he wasn’t even on the list. However, the Winnipeg Jets’ scouting staff saw something the NHL scouts didn’t and selected Connor in the fifth round. Six years later he’s regarded as one of the top goalies in the NHL.
Paul Romanuk's annual Hockey Superstars serves as a reminder to readers of all ages that another NHL season is almost upon us. With the 2018-2019 edition, Romanuk, a sports broadcaster and author, maintains the annual's familiar "sandwich" format. Once more, the "meat" portion consists of 16 pairs of glossy pages, with the rectos resembling oversized hockey cards bearing an action, full colour photo of one of the volume's superstars. Again, the volume’s entries are alphabetically ordered, beginning with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie Frederik Andersen and concluding with the Winnipeg Jets’ right winger Blake Wheeler. Romanuk continues to feature a seventeenth star on the book's cover, with this year’s cover highlighting Steven Stamkos, a center and the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos’ text appears on the cover's verso. The major text for the other NHL stars, which appears on the page facing the player's photo, usually speaks to happenings related to the player's previous NHL season and includes quotes by or about the player, with one comment being highlighted and bolded. For example, the bolded section for the Nashville Predators’ P. K. Subban reads:
“Hockey is an amazing sport and it’s had a positive impact on my life. But my dad always said that school comes first. If I didn’t do well in school, I didn’t get to play hockey.”
"Did You Know?" and "Hockey Memories" can be found at the bottom of the text page, with both providing brief snippets of information about the page's focal player. For example, the "Did You Know?" about the Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser informs readers that "Brock wears the number 6 as a tribute to two others who wore that number: his dad and a friend who died in a car crash in 2014. He also has the initials of his friend, and the number 6, on his stick.” What players contribute to the brief "Hockey Memories" vary widely. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy recalls playing in his first World Championships in Minsk, Russia “where he was part of the gold-medal-winning Russian team. ‘It was like a dream. The triumph, the cup in my hands, the call to the Kremlin, the big parade in Moscow after the win. An amazing experience.’” On the action photo page, Romanuk provides the player's stats for the previous season as well as his draft ranking and first NHL team, date and place of birth, position, height and weight (Metric and Imperial units) plus shooting/catching handedness.
Of the NHL's now 31 teams, 13 are represented in this edition of Hockey Superstars, with just one team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, having three entries with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets each having a pair of entries. Like last year's edition, players who are wingers and centers dominate, constituting 13 of the entries with the remainder consisting of three goalies and a single defenseman, the aforementioned P. K. Subban. The book's superstars are a mixture of established veterans and relative newcomers, with players like the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin falling into the former category, and players such as the Vegas Golden Knights’ William Karlsson, the Canucks’ Brock Boeser and the Leafs' Auston Matthews representing the latter. As always, there are holdovers from the previous year's edition who have continued to shine, including the Flames' Johnny Gaudreau and the Oilers' Connor McDavid.
The book's sandwich "bread" is again made up of two sections of matte pages which principally provide brief, point form information about the NHL teams, end of season stats, NHL awards, and 18 referee signals, or the pages offer the book's readers opportunities to record information as the season proceeds or to make predictions about individual players or team outcomes. A new addition that is located on the book's last page is "Olympic Superstars?" which lists six outstanding players from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, with three being female, including Canada’s Melodie Daoust. Only three of the six players are identified by a colour photo, but each gets a 4-5 line writeup. That for Melodie Daoust reads:
Melodie Daoust - Canada
Playing a much bigger role with the team in her second Olympics, Melodie led Canada in scoring with seven points in five games, was named tournament MVP and took home a silver medal.
The reader participation "bread" portions reinforce that Hockey Superstars 2018-2019 is more likely an individual "home" purchase, but copies in public and school libraries will also circulate well.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the home of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.