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Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada's Hockey Obsession

Regular price $27.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781771640480
  • Tags: Sports & Recreation, Stephen Smith,
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Published On: 9/26/2014
  • 440 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781771640916
  • Tags: Sports & Recreation, Stephen Smith,
  • Published On: 9/26/2014
  • 440 Pages

Longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize

In Puckstruck, Stephen Smith chronicles his wideeyed and sometimes wincing wander through hockey’s literature, language, and history. On this journey to discover what the game has to say about who we are as Canadians, he seeks to answer some essential riddles. Can hockey make you a better person? What exactly is the Swedes’ problem? Where did the hook check go? Should those men really be permitted to keep punching each other in the head? If hockey is the best of us, is it also the worst? Is there hope?

Stephen Smith’s stories about five dollar bills and boy travel writers have appeared in Geist and McSweeney’s. He has also written for the Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic, Outside, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Toronto, where he tends a blog,, that keeps an eye on hockey culture. Puckstruck is his first book.


"This is a book after my heart: hockey and literature waltzing together to the music of the author's careful, artful prose. Funny, wistful, smart and unlike any hockey book I've read (although I clearly haven't read as many as Mr. Smith)." -Dave Bidini

"Puckstruck is like nothing I've read before--fresh, funny, dazzling and brilliant. Can a hockey book ever really be described as Joycean? This one can." -Charles Foran

"Puckstruck is irreverent, eclectic, irascible, witty, smart, and highly informed. It should be required reading for every 'hockey insider' analyst and bar-stool GM in ice country." -Roy MacGregor

"With a masterful lightness of touch, Stephen Smith takes us on a magical mystery tour of all the hockey books worth reading, revealing the Game’s joys and darkness, its poetry and cruelty, its inescapable hold on our hearts.Puckstruck is a whirlwind read, as surprising and entertaining as the sport itself. Hockey fans will eat it up." -Roy MacSkimming, author of Gordie: A Hockey Legend and Cold War: the Amazing Canada-Soviet Hockey Series of 1972

". . . a book that reminds us that hockey is more than the NHL, and, as Canadians, we have hockey 'in the blood' whether we like the NHL or not. " -Wayne Grady, The Kingston Whig Standard

" . . . everything is there, from the opening faceoff to the Winter Classic to a beaming Zdeno Chara hosting the Stanley Cup." -Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press

"Smith and Greystone Books have an instant classic here...It is such a good a book that I declare, without hesitation, that Puckstruck is the 2014 Hockey Book of the Year." -Joe Pelletier,

"Hockey wasn’t invented but discovered. The game, and the large organizing idea behind Stephen Smith’s deeply personal Puckstruck, sleeps in ponds and in the crooked limbs of trees overhead; we merely pluck a stick from the sky and skate over the frozen world to find ourselves and each other. It’s rare to find a book that makes me proud to be Canadian: A funny, myth-busting, life-loving read." -Michael Winter, author of Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead

"Smith, a veteran writer and hockey researcher, treats his subject with an unbridled sense of wonder." - Winnipeg Free Press

"With a love of words as deep and impassioned as his love of hockey, Smith delivers a maddening opus for the ages." -Publishers Weekly

"(Smith’s) writing is lively and incisive, and often amusingly beautiful." -Literary Review of Canada

"Perfection and hockey do not always go together but I found both of them in Stephen Smith's new book, an instant classic called Puckstruck…simply the finest book about hockey I have ever read, belonging on the list of the best hockey books of all time." -Owen Sound Sun Times