The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie is an emjoyable read all around, but it’s a great piece of writing for those of us who are hopelessly obsessed with both the arts and the best game you can name. Picking up an assist from indie-Can-rock turned scribe Dave Bidini, CBC Radio 3’s (and former Smuggler) Grant Lawrence share his childhood trauma at the hands of hockey-jock bullies and his later life redemption by way of hockey in a manner that is easy and entertaining to digest. While detailing his own childhood in Vancouver, his coming of age by way of rock n roll with the Smugglers, and his third period full-on embrace of hockey between the posts for the arts-based beer league Flying Vees, Lawrence also gives us a concise history of the Vancouver Canucks franchise itself.
Personally, I found a lot of parallels between Lawrence’s story and my own experience growing up a nerdy book and music obsessed punk in northern BC (though I played hockey until the age of 17). Particularly, the struggle of reconciling the ideals of punk rock with the ethos of competitive hockey is one that myself, and many others, can relate to. As much a “puck-rock” musicology lesson as a memoir, The Lonely End of the Rink (named after the Tragically Hip tune of the same name) should find itself on many reading lists this hockey season, and for many to come. (Douglas & McIntyre, grantlawrence.ca) Sheldon Birnie