Hockey Superstars 2023-2024
Hockey Superstars 2023-2024
Sports broadcaster and author Romanuk again utilizes this annual's familiar "sandwich" format in the 2023-2024 edition of Hockey Superstars. As before, the “meat” portion consists of 16 page pairs, with the rectos resembling oversized hockey cards that bear an action, full-colour photo of one of the volume's superstars.
At this page’s bottom, Romanuk provides the player's stats for the 2022-2023 season as well as his draft ranking and first NHL team, date and place of birth, position, shooting/catching handedness and height and weight (Metric and Imperial units). The facing page contains a two-column text that usually speaks to happenings related to that player's previous NHL season, and the text page includes a highlighted and bolded quote by or about the player. That for the Winnipeg Jets’ defenseman Josh Morrissey reads:
“Wanting to show your stuff and take on anybody in the league. That’s, I think, what all the great players in our league have, is that mindset where they want to compete against the best.”
"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. Those for the New Jersey Devils’ center Jack Hughes read:
DID YOU KNOW?
Jack was the first player to graduate from the prestigious U.S. National Team Development Program directly into the NHL. He played his final game for the USNTOP on April 28, 2019, and debuted in the NHL on October 4, 2019.
It was a special night late last season when Jack’s younger brother, Luke, made his NHL debut for the Devils. Jack and Luke’s older brother, Quinn, also plays in the NHL, for the Canucks.
Interestingly, Jack Hughes’ brother, Quinn, is the next entry in Hockey Superstars 2023-2024. Again, the volume’s entries are alphabetically ordered, beginning with the Seattle Krakens’ centre Matty Beniers and concluding with the Boston Bruins’ goalie Linus Ullmark. Though the NHL now consists of 32 teams, only a baker’s dozen are represented in this edition of Hockey Superstars, with just three teams, the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, having more than one entry. Like last year's edition, players who are wingers and centers dominate, constituting eleven of the entries with the remainder consisting of two goalies and three defensemen. The book's superstars are a mixture of established veterans and relative newcomers, with players like the Calgary Flames Nazem Kadri and the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak falling into the former category while the Winnipeg Jets’ Cole Perfetti and the Seattle Krakens’ Matty Beniers represent the latter.
A post-season event has impacted this edition of Hockey Superstars. While Erik Karlsson’s photo sees him wearing a San Jose Sharks’ jersey, the text of his entry questioned “[w]hether general manager Mike Grier decides to keep Erik and his large contract around while the team tries to get back on track this season remains to be seen.” The answer is in: Karlsson was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The book's sandwich "bread" is again made up of two sections which principally provide brief, point form information about the 32 NHL teams, opportunities to make predictions and to record player and team stats and the winners of a dozen NHL individual awards. Illustrations and text identify 18 referee signals. The book’s final page, “Prospects”, identifies the top five players selected in the 2023 NHL Draft. Unfortunately, only three of the players’ brief write-ups are accompanied by colour action photos.
The reader participation "bread" portions reinforce that Hockey Superstars 2023-2024 is more likely to be an individual "home" purchase, but copies in public and school libraries will definitely circulate well.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the home of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.