The gloves are off in David Shoalts’ latest book, Hockey Fight in Canada.
S. Walter Stewart Library hosted a small crowd who came to see the longtime hockey and sports writer on Friday night talk about the bidding war for Hockey Night in Canada between CBC, Bell and Rogers — and how Rogers’ surprise win didn’t mean a big return (so far) on its investment.
Despite covering hockey for more than 30 years, Shoalts’ latest book was one he told the audience he initially didn’t want to write.
“Even though I knew it was a very popular topic I wasn’t real keen to write a book on it,” Shoalts said. “One day I got a call from a book agent that said we should pitch a book on this to publishers, that it would do quite well.”
After a couple months of talking with the book agent and lots of deliberation, Shoalts decided to write it.
“It took awhile, but looking back I’m glad I did,” Shoalts said.
Shoalts had spent several years previously covering the bidding wars for Hockey Night in Canada — including the battles among CBC, Bell and Rogers; the effort to bring Ron MacClean back, and stories on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman himself. And of course, let’s not forget the saga of Don Cherry.
“Viewers really like Don Cherry because that’s exactly how he is in real life.,” Shoalts said. “A lot of guys try to put on an act but for him, that’s how he is all the time.”
He might be hoping Cherry gives the book a thumbs up — just in time for hockey season.