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Tough Calls: Nhl Referees and Linesmen Tell Their Story [Hardcover]

Dick Irvin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1997
Talk about your tough calls!

It’s the fourth game of the Eastern Conference playoffs, 1995. Alexei Kovalev of the Rangers is down, apparently unconscious. At the other end of the rink, the Nordiques star forward is rushing the net. Joe Sakic fans on the shot and Kovalev doesn’t move. Andy van Hellemond, the game’s most experienced referee, is somewhere in the middle, trying to decide what to do. Thinking that Sakic’s rush has failed and worried about the man who’s down, he blows his whistle. What he doesn’t know is that Sakic has somehow recaptured the puck and scored, and that Kovalev is about to get up and skate to the bench. But play has been stopped and the goal doesn’t count. The Rangers go on to win the game (in overtime) and then the series.

Fortunately, not all calls are that tough. And, more often than not, the officials get them right. Most have endured a hard apprenticeship on their way to the big league. They have seen just about everything, from bench-clearing brawls to fish on the ice. They’re a savvy and tightly knit group. They have to be.

They are connoisseurs of fights. Some remember when players fought with two hands, instead of grabbing the other guy with one hand while swinging the other. Some classic brawls are recalled in these pages. Gordie Howe ’s decisive battle with Lou Fontinato is described by the linesman who broke it up. Later, expansion-era brawls started by Philadelphia’s “Broad Street Bullies” are similarly recalled by officials who knew, at least, what they were in for when the puck was dropped.

Following the formula that has worked so well in his previous books, Dick Irvin lets the referees and linesmen tell their own story. It’s not all about mayhem. Kerry Fraser reveals the secret of his perfect hairdo. Don Koharski explains what happened after New Jersey coach Jim Schoenfeld called him “a fat pig.” And Paul Stewart tells what it’s like to make the transition from refereed to referee.

The stories in Tough Calls are as varied, colourful, funny, farfetched, and revealing as any collection of anecdotes ever brought together about the game of hockey, making this an indispensable addition to every fan’s library.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Mcclelland & Stewart Ltd (Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077104366X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771043666
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,493,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars So-so Insight into NHL Referees 6 Mar 1999
By A Customer
By his own admission, Mr. Irvin placed a microphone on the table, recorded their comments and, basically, transcribed word-for-word what NHL referees, past and present, had to say about the game.
While by no means does repeating subject comments, practically, verbatim to text represent a weak effort, in Mr. Irvin's case one would have expected more. Considering he has direct lineage of one of hockeys most storied coaches, has seen practically every Montreal Canadiens game in the past 40 or 50 years, has written dozens of hockey books and provided countless analysis on HNIC this book represents a let down. Given the lack of 'off-ice observer' insight one would expect from someone who practically grew up in the Forum, we are then left with large-scale referee reminiscing, much of it repetitive (entry into the profession, forced early retirement, mentors), however with little depth and not much to re-new our appreciation for the men in stripes.
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By A Customer
As a hockey offical myself, I loved the stories from the officials. Learning both how it was done in the old days and some of the techniques and stories of the guys that are currently working. Every official has and gives advice or what he feels the key to working well and continuing to work well at a high level. I took carefull notes.
It gives the fans a different perspective of these guys. It sheds a different light. Not always the bad guy and it tells how officials prize the chance to work in the playoffs just as much as the players do. If not sometimes more.
I really liked it. I could relate. It is a must read for any young (at heart) aspiring hockey offical.
G.L. Winnipeg, MB.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR ALL REFEREES! 29 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Even if you are not an ice hockey referee, but a football or soccer referee or baseball umpire or whatever, you can benefit from reading this book!
Are there any aspiring young hockey referees or linesmen who want to go to the NHL? I am one of them. I have been to pro hockey officials' training camps, including the East Coast Hockey League which is run by former-NHL referee Andy Van Hellemond. I can tell you first hand, this book is very accurate, the real thing!
If you want a career as a referee or linesman, read this book, it will open your eyes and hopefully focus your energy on getting your job done!
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