Grantland put together a nice little documentary on the disappearance of the role of the fighter in today’s National Hockey League, starring Paul Bissonnette, Brian McGrattan, and Colton Orr on the fighting end of the stick. All three of those guys put in time in the American Hockey League this year, toiling away while they waited for spots to open up again in the NHL.
It’s about eight minutes long, give or take, so four hooking penalties or thereabouts.
All of those guys have enjoyed some success in the big leagues, but the American Hockey League is where William Murphy, protagonist of “William Murphy’s Trip to the Quiet Room” whiles away his hockey life, literally fighting for his livelihood. The book joins him once his career (and the career of his buddy, another fighter, Germaine Bousquet) is over, but the rough and tumble nature of what he did doesn’t just let go because he’s hung up his skates and his gloves.
Grantland do a great job of showing off the guys affected by this shift in mentality in the NHL away from fighters and the stats guys affecting the change. You’ll note, though, that never the twain shall meet (which is probably for the best).
So if you’re into hockey, or if these guys and the lives they live are in any way the slightest bit interesting to you and you’re an agent or publisher or know one, well, have I ever got a book for you.*
* And if you’re not into hockey, well, the book isn’t all about hockey. It’s also about plumbing, Old Sturbridge Village, time travel, mothers and daughters, the F.B.I., and Cape Cod.