Do you consume hockey? Do you want the best up to date read on your favorite ice-based sport? Perfect, here the top five new hockey books you need to own.

Do you have a birthday coming up? Are you bored at work? Good! Here are five books that any hockey lover needs to own. We didn’t rank these books because they’re all fantastic. But we think this very first one from Craig Custance is a must own.

Behind The Bench: Inside The Minds Of Hockeys Greatest Coaches

Craig Custance

I love, love, love this book. The idea seems so obvious that I’m surprised it hadn’t been done before. Sitting down with coaches and watching games. Not just any games. But big games. Games that meant something. Like sitting down with ex-Team USA coach Ron Wilson to discuss his team’s loss to Canada in overtime for the gold medal.

Craig Custance convinces some of the best minds in the game to sit down and relive moments and their lives and we get to be part of it by reading this book. As a hockey fan with no access to these individuals, this is perhaps the greatest insight we’ll ever get. I wish this was an HBO TV mini-series so I can be remotely lazy and see the play they’re talking about rather than having to picture it in my mind.

If you love hockey (and why wouldn’t you) you need this book.

Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches

Stats Shot: The Ultimate Guide To Hockey Analytics

Vollman

Over the last few years, advanced statistics have started to creep into hockey. Corsi, Fenwick, high-danger save percentage, wins above replacement (WAR), expected goals for (xGF) are all now part of hockey vernacular. Not knowing what these are isn’t an option for anyone who consumes hockey media. You’re going to see these stats pop-up in whoever you follow’s writing. And Rob Vollman wants you to understand what they mean and why they’re important.

Stats Shot’s mission statement, that I bestowed upon it, is to teach you what you need to know about “advanced analytics” in the game of hockey. It’s accessible even though it primary subject is statistics. It’s light and above all else it’s understandable. Vollman does an outstanding job in detailing what you need to know about analytics.

Stat Shot: The Ultimate Guide to Hockey Analytics

Take Your Eye Off The Puck: How To Watch Hockey By Knowing Where To Look

Greg Wyshynski

If you’re new to the game this books for you. Greg Wyshynski (now of ESPN) does a good job of just explaining hockey. But when I say that don’t expect an encyclopedic dissection of the game. It’s meant as an introduction to the sport for those who are just converting to the sport of ice hockey. So manage your expectations.

Wyshynski’s book isn’t about explaining every in-and-out of the game. It’s meant to be accessible to those who may not totally understand that game and might be looking for a little help knowing what some broadcasters are talking about on those NBC national games. And it does a remarkable job at that. It’s full of pop-culture references and deadpan humor. Both hallmarks of the Wyshynski style. And exactly why this book is as accessible as it is.

Take Your Eye Off the Puck: How to Watch Hockey By Knowing Where to Look

The 100 Greatest Players In NHL History (And Other Stuff): An Arbitrary Collection of Arbitrary Lists

Greg Wyshynski/Dave Lozo/Sean MacIndoe

Ever get into an argument with your friends about who the greatest players in the NHL were? Of course, you did. We all have at some point. Greg Wyshynski, Dave Lozo, and Sean MacIndoe certainly have and instead of leaving it at the bar they decided to make a book about it. They graded players based on their own not-entirely-scientific-but-still-pretty-darn-good ranking system and then went about the business of justifying their answers. Imagine that! Transparency in the world of hockey!

All three are hilarious individual and let that funny bone out in their writing. It’s a fun read from cover to cover and it’s definitely going to have you nod your head in agreement, but also sigh audibly when you disagree venomously at one of their picks

The 100 Greatest Players In NHL History (And Other Stuff): An Arbitrary Collection of Arbitrary Lists

Offside: My Life Crossing The Line

Sean Avery

Remember Sean Avery? The guy that waved his stick in front of Martin Brodeur while his team was on a power play? Or how about the guy who would call the same Martin Brodeur “fatty” after the ex-New Jersey Devils goalie wouldn’t shake his hand during the traditional handshake line in the playoffs?

Now you should. Well, he’s got a memoir out about those events and so much more. It’s an honest read about one of the more contentious players to ever lace up skates.

It’s sometimes tough to take what Avery says simply because we all know how inflammatory Avery can be. True or not, Offside is one heck of an entertaining read.

Offside: My Life Crossing the Line

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