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10 Must Read Hockey Books for NHL Fans

Hockey books for NHL fans highlight the triumphs and tribulations of some of hockey’s most iconic players and teams.

For those people who were not raised in a sports-oriented household, the fanatic culture that surrounds sports like professional hockey may seem chaotic and silly. Yet for people like me who grew up in a house where the television was always set to a sports channel and dinner conversations revolved around the most recent NHL game, the enthusiastic fan loyalty and love of hockey was part of daily life. In the eyes of NHL fans, hockey is more than just twelve men skating on ice, passing around a puck, and getting into the occasional fist-fight. The NHL has a culture rooted in seasons of incredible players, renowned coaches, and historic game-changing plays. 

As fun as watching live NHL games in action is, another great way for fans to dive deeper into the hockey culture is through books. Though to some books are almost a thing of the past, reading is one of the best ways for any sports fan to discover more about the players, leagues, and teams they love. For those of you in need of some reading inspiration, we have compiled a list of must read hockey books for NHL fans. From the world’s greatest players and coaches to the most iconic events in hockey history, books about hockey highlight stories any true NHL fan is sure to love.

100 Years, 100 Moments: A Centennial of NHL Hockey by Scott Morrison

Just over a century old, the National Hockey League has grown to be one of the world’s most popular and exciting sports leagues. With 31 teams from the United States and Canada, this hockey league’s competition captivates the hearts of thousands of fans nationwide. There is no better way to understand and appreciate the NHL’s history and development than to read about its best and most impactful moments. In 100 Years, 100 Moments: A Centennial of NHL Hockey, sports journalist Scott Morrison provides readers with snap shot of these moments to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the NHL. Highlighting the league’s most influential milestones, players, and coaches, this book is the perfect read for any life long NHL fan, as well as for any curious individual new to the world of hockey.

The Game by Ken Dryden

The name Ken Dryden is renowned in the hockey community. This NHL star began his professional hockey journey in the early 1970s when he was recruited by the Montreal Canadiens. As, Dryden soon became one of the most noticeable players on his team, as well as one of the best hockey goalies of all time. In 1983 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is the mark of any truly amazing hockey player. In The Game, this hockey legend gives readers an inside look into the behind the scenes of the game of hockey from the perspective of a professional hockey player. From tales about his teammates and opponents, to reflections on his success and fame, Dryden narrates a story that would intrigue any hockey fan. 

Tales from the New York Rangers Locker Room: A Collection of the Greatest Rangers Stories Ever Told by Gilles Villemure and Mike Shalin

One of the oldest teams in the NHL, the New York Rangers were the first NHL franchise team to win the Stanley Cup. Being almost a century old, this NHL team has a history filled with incredible players, astonishing victories, and heartbreaking losses. Some of the most notable professional hockey players, including Wayne Gretzky and Howie Morenz, have worn the iconic red and blue Rangers uniform. In Tales from the New York Rangers Locker Room, Gilles Villemure, a former Rangers player, and Mike Shalin, a man well-known in the sports journalism industry, retell some of the most memorable moments in the New York Ranger’s history. From the perspective of a Ranger himself, readers get a glimpse into what it was like to play for one of the most recognizable teams in hockey. 

99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky and Kirstie McLellan Day

Wayne Gretzky is another well-known name with in the NHL community. Both an incredible player and coach, Wayne Gretzky was nicknamed “The Great One” due to his unparalleled performance on the ice. With 20 seasons of ice hockey under his belt, Gretzky remains the leading scorer in NHL history. His unmatchable gameplay on the ice put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Along with Kirstie McLellan Day, an author well-known for her many hockey related books, Wayne Gretzky reveals to the hockey community what the game of hockey means to him. He discusses his journey to becoming one of the greatest hockey players the NHL has ever seen, as well as the most influential people who motivated him though out his journey. Tilted in honor of Gretzky’s iconic jersey number, this hockey book for NHL fans should be on every must read list.

The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey

Most hockey fans know the fascinating story of the “Miracle on Ice,” during which the USA Olympic Men’s Hockey Team overcame all odds and beat the seemingly unbeatable Russians in the 1980 Olympics. Nowadays, hockey fans all over the country learn about this event from Miracle, one of the best hockey movies. However, if you want to dive even deeper into the intricacies of how the USA Men’s hockey team beat one of the most successful teams in hockey history, then this book is a must read. Wayne Coffey provides an in-depth look into the team chemistry, coaching, and players that lead to such an extraordinary event. For those readers who love a hockey tale involving a victorious underdog and national pride, then this book is right up your alley.

Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr

The name Bobby Orr is a notable one in the world of hockey. During the 1960s and 1970s, Bobby Orr made a name for himself, both on the Boston Bruins and the Blackhawks. Renowned for his incredible skill and speed on the ice, his outstanding 12 season performance as a defenseman has many hockey fans calling him one of the greatest hockey players of all time. Eventually he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, his face and name forever next to some of the world’s most talented athletes. Bobby Orr tells the world about his hockey journey in this unique and insightful memoir. This hockey book for NHL fans captures the before, during, and after of his hockey career.

Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey's Greatest Coaches by Craig Custance

Most athletes and sports fans would likely agree that in addition to having talented players, the key to a team’s success also lies in the coaches. Given that hockey is a fast-paced sport that relies heavily on team dynamic and synergy, a hockey coach’s ability to lead and motivate their team can make or break their odds of winning. In this book, ESPN’s Craig Custance explores how some of the league’s most notable coaches have brought their teams to success. He sits down with NHL’s most influential members, coaches and players alike, to discover what aspects of leadership, coaching, and game planning are most important to the league’s best and most influential hockey coaches. Whether you are a player, a coach, or a fan, this book will help you appreciate the game in a whole new way. 

Then Wayne Said to Mario: The Best Stanley Cup Stories Ever Told by Kevin Allen

The Stanley Cup final is the biggest event of the NHL season. Winning the Stanley Cup playoff trophy is the highest award and aspiration any NHL team, or player, can hope to achieve. In this book, Kevin Allen tells tales of the league’s most iconic Stanley Cup playoff games, highlighting groundbreaking plays, unbelievable Stanley Cup comebacks, unique team dynamics, and specific players, including Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. As a successful sports writer, Allen has covered over 550 NHL games, 24 of which were Stanley Cup finals. He has captured the best of the best of these games in this book. He offers readers an inside look into the games through the eyes of the players and coaches, giving the readers a sense of the raw emotion and excitement found in a NHL Stanley Cup playoff game. 

Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch

Nicknamed “The Boogeyman” and “The Mountie,” Derek Boogaard was a NHL star in the 1990s and early 2000s. He played for both the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers. Famous for fighting on the ice, he was quickly deemed one of the toughest NHL players of his time. From his childhood playing pond hockey to his successful hockey career, John Branch explores the life of Derek Boogaard in this book. Using months of research and personal interviews with those closest to the late hockey star, Branch dives deep into the complicated life and tragic death of one of NHL’s most ferocious and feisty hockey players. For any Minnesota Wild or New York Ranger fan, this book is quite an interesting read.

Stanley Cup Fever: More than a Century of Hockey Greatness by Brian McFlane

Canadian sports broadcaster and author Brian McFlane captures the true essence and energy of the NHL final in this historical account of hockey’s greatest games. Stanley Cup Fever offers a detailed history of the most pivotal game in every NHL season: the Stanley Cup playoffs. Written at the turn of the 20th century, this book guides readers through the most memorable games, talented players, and game changing plays the Stanley Cup has ever seen. It includes in-depth statistics and data, vibrant pictures, and personal accounts of NHL playoffs games. McFlane provides a chronicle of hockey’s most exciting, emotional, and watched game. This hockey book for NHL fans is sure to be a page turner.

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