Book Review: Hockey Play-by-Play

A slim paperback that covers the history of the Vancouver Canucks captaincy, Hockey Play-by-Play ought to be a welcome gift to anyone hanging a team-themed stocking on their mantle in the next little while.

Distributed through London Drugs outlets in British Columbia until Christmas and with a chunk of the proceeds going to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, it covers the men who have worn the C for the Canucks, from rugged survivor of “Original Six” era, Orland Kurtenbach, to the present day captain, Roberto Luongo, packing a remarkable amount of information into only 30 pages.

Interviews with players and executives, largely centering on the role and nature of captaincy provide first-hand reminiscences of the time they spent wearing the C. Trips back in time to relive pivotal games during the tenure of each captain, from the first home game against the Canadiens to the spring, 2009, sweep of the St. Louis Blues, with eight stops along the way, provide the bulk of the text.

Also included are game notes scribbled by Jim Robson during each of the detailed matches that were presented during his tenure as the Voice of the Canucks, and those put together by his successor, John Shorthouse for more recent games and photos of memorabilia through the past four decades.

Complementing the text are reproductions of tickets, action shots, hockey cards, programs and publications, flat metal players from vintage table hockey games and even records but what stands out in this readers mind are the fashion mistakes that the team wore for several years in the orange, black and yellow era. And the sticks.

Each man who served as Canuck captain is represented by some of his lumber. Interestingly, they all appear to be made of wood, none sport an exaggerated hook and eight of the ten were turned out by a Canadian manufacturer.

A great gift for the Canuck fan on your list, this little volume might also be informative for hockey fans in other time zones, where the reasons for hanging Stan Smyl’s number from the rafters might not be fully appreciated. It’s worth picking up if only to read former GM Brian Burke’s reason for allowing then-junior prospect Trevor Linden skip the battery of physical and psychological tests that his team was running on all the youngsters it had an eye on drafting in the spring of 1988.

Hockey Play-By-Play – Canucks Captains with Jim Robson
Author – Jason Farris
Publisher – Stellar Press, Vancouver BC
US – $15.95 CDN – $16.95
Now Available at


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