Don't Call Me Goon reads like a history lesson as the chapters guide you through the Pioneers of Mayhem and the Original Six to the Expansion Era and today's Modern Day Warriors. While many hockey fans are familiar with the names of Bob Probert, Georges Laraque and Tie Domi, the book also showcases the men before them such as Sprague Cleghorn and Billy Coutu. From what we read about the 1920s and 1930s, it's safe to say that many of the anti-fighting crowd would have had heart attacks watching these guys play.
Our favourite chapter was about the 1967 Expansion and the St. Louis Blues stockpiling guys that could drop the gloves. This ultimately triggered the development of the Broad Street Bullies in Philadelphia and Don Cherry's Lunch Pail Gang in Boston. Full of bench clearing brawls and seemingly endless nicknames for fighters such as Barc "The Spark" Plager, you can't help but think of the movie Slapshot when reading about the Flyers, Blues, and Bruins slugging it out on the ice throughout the 1970s.
Obviously in today's hockey climate the debate on fighting can't be ignored and Don't Call Me Goon does an excellent job of wrapping up with discussing the rise of the rat (think Patrick Kaleta) and concussions in hockey. While the focus has been on getting rid of goons in today's game, reasoning is provided for the rise of dirty hits and head injuries such as recent rule changes that have made the game faster and more entertaining for the casual fan. There's some valid points from well-respected players and who better to know the tide for change than those that have played the game.
Overall, this is a fantastic read with some great insight into hockey's most controversial role and would look good under any Christmas tree this holiday season. Purchase it here and be sure to check back in as we'll be giving away a few copies as prizes in our 4th annual World Junior Hockey Pool!