A fond look at Saskatchewan hockey and the lives it inspires

By Martin Martinson
October 4, 2018 - 2:00pm

Saskatchewan Hockey the Game of our Lives is a book comprised by editor, Allan Safarik.

An avid hockey fan since he was just a boy, the game of hockey has always held a soft spot in his heart.

Growing up in east end Vancouver, Safarik’s childhood consisted of playing many sports, but for some reason, the one that included a stick and a puck played over a frozen canvas always took precedence above the rest; right from day one.

Safarik, who moved to Dundurn, Sask. in his adult life, had the chance to see just how influential the game could be on not only a community, but a province as a whole.

Having previously written other books, some to do with hockey, Safarik started writing Saskatchewan Hockey with his wife, but after she passed away due to cancer in 2013, Allan said the book was put on hold for a time, until just a couple of years ago when he picked up the project once again and completed it.

More than just a book, Safarik’s read is a collection of writings submitted from people all across the province, who adhere to the belief that hockey is not only a sport but a very foundation for the fabric of communities spread all throughout the land of the living skies.

From poetry to fiction, and even first-person accounts; Saskatchewan Hockey is a testament to the skills and life-lessons learned and developed through a national pass-time revered by many, from frozen ponds and sloughs out in the country to community rinks and out of town tournaments, hockey has a way of mirroring life, and instilling values such as the importance of teamwork, dedication to one’s craft, and an understanding of personal sacrifice for long-term gain.

The conglomerate of narratives embodied within Safarik’s work, detail common themes of perseverance in the face of adversity, the undeniable influence of sport on society and an overwhelming reminiscence about youth, family and relationships in general.  

Randy Lundy recounts his experience watching the ’72 Summit Series in which the author divulges the political undertones and overarching theme of the Canada, Russia showdown; toying with the what-if scenario and potential repercussions had Paul Hederson not scored the goal to lift a nation.

Several entries later in Safarik’s book, is a lovely piece written by Rudy Thauberger, titled as simply, Goalie. The read outlines in great detail, the love-hate relationship of a young goaltender with the demands of the position itself, taken from the perspective of his father, encapsulating the joyous nostalgia as the father reminisces about time spent in the back yard with a tennis ball where his son’s passion first was nourished, before the pressure of high level sport took hold.

As is the case with many of the reads within the bindings of Saskatchewan Hockey, the story transports the reader back to a simpler time, and paints a vivid and rich picture in one’s mind that is sure to inspire a range of emotions, while celebrating Canada’s game; Saskatchewan’s game; the great game of hockey.

 

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