UMaine professor, coach team up on comprehensive hockey book for all ages

Posted Dec. 21, 2012, at 6 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — After tackling football in a pair of 2011 books, University of Maine professor Sandy Caron has teamed up with Maine men’s hockey coach Tim Whitehead to release an educational and entertaining book on hockey.

Caron and former Maine Maritime Academy head football coach Mike Hodgson collaborated on the 2011 books “Tackling Football: A Woman’s Guide to Understanding the College Game” and “Tackling Football: Everyone’s Guide to Understanding the College Game.”

The recently released hockey book is called “Skating Thru Hockey: A Fan’s Guide to Youth, College and the Professional Game.”

Caron explained that after co-authoring the football books, “people came up to me and asked me to do one about hockey.”

“It’s a good reference for hockey families, and it’s also educational for people who are new to the game,” Whitehead said. “I’m pleased with it. It’s a quick read.”

Whitehead said he and Caron wanted to produce a book that covered all levels of the sport as well as its intricacies. There is something for everyone, he said.

Val Ireland, the manager of Creative Services at the university, handled the illustrations for the book.

Caron said even the simplest of terms is explained because “not everybody understands them.”

There is an impressive and comprehensive glossary of terms and Ireland illustrated a number of useful tidbits like the 2-1-2, 1-2-2 and 2-3 forechecks; offsides; icing and various power-play alignments.

Caron said one of her favorite chapters covers how to watch a hockey game.

“There are a lot of enthusiastic hockey fans in Maine, but not everyone understands exactly what’s going on. The game is so fast,” said Caron. “There are a lot of parents whose children play hockey but they didn’t play. This book is useful for that, too.”

She said there’s also a chapter on how to listen to a game.

Caron said the book is similar to her football books except “the football book focused on just the college game but the hockey book covers youth, college and the pro game.

“When you look at the sports books out there, they’re either a wonderful life story of a star player, a book for children just starting to play or a very technical book written by coaches,” Caron said.

“We wanted to write something light and not too intimidating,” she added. “It’s a beautiful book and we have a lot of colorful fun facts in there.”

One of the fun facts pertains to how a woman played a major role in the evolution of the Stanley Cup.

“Lady Isobel Stanley was the daughter of Lord (Frederick Arthur) Stanley, Canada’s Governor General (from 1888-93), and she liked to play hockey. She convinced her father to donate a trophy to the top-ranked amateur hockey team (Montreal H.C.) in Canada in 1893. It became the Stanley Cup in 1926,” Caron pointed out.

Another interesting tidbit is that there are an average of 60 faceoffs per 60-minute game.

Whitehead said they devote part of the book to women’s hockey, which he said is the “fastest growing” segment of the sport.

Whitehead also said they chart the process of game preparation.

“We explain what happens before, during and after games,” said Whitehead. “We watch a lot of video after games.”

There is material devoted to professional hockey as well.

Whitehead, in his 12th season at Maine, said he had fun collaborating with Caron on the book.

“I enjoyed the process,” he said.

So did Caron.

“Besides being incredibly knowledgeable, he’s a great guy and he’s funny,” said Caron who is a professor of Family Relations and Human Sexuality at Maine.

The book costs $17.99 and is available at the campus bookstore, Bear Necessities in the Alfond Arena and on amazon.com.

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