Posts tagged ‘50 mission cap’

January 1, 2012

My new novel, “Triumph the Lion,” on CJSF Radio

Thanks to host KP Wee of “Smitten with the Written” for the opportunity to read from “Triumph the Lion,” my new novel. You can hear it as part of an interview on CJSF Radio (90.1 FM) in Vancouver from a couple of weeks ago. KP and I discussed “50 Mission Cap” and how the ugly subject of sexual abuse by athletic coaches has turned up again in the news because of the scandals at Penn State and Syracuse universities. We also talked about travel writing and writing tips for emerging writers before I read the first few pages of “Triumph the Lion.”

Here are the links to the interview:

Click here for Part 1.
Click here for Part 2.

September 22, 2011

From Slovenia, hockey scholar Jason Blake writes about Canada’s passion

The author of the most thoroughly researched analysis of hockey literature you’ll ever have the delight of reading hasn’t seen a full NHL game in about 10 years. Needing a topic for his Ph.D thesis, Jason Blake recognized a lack of commentary on a subject that is ubiquitous in Canadian culture. Plus, “I had a hell of a lot of time on my hands in Slovenia and figured what the heck.”

Jason Blake - Author

Jason Blake wrote "Canadian Hockey Literature" as his Ph.D thesis.

So, from that tiny Eastern European country that has produced just one elite player, came “Canadian Hockey Literature,” a smart compilation of Blake’s observations about the game’s meaning to writers, readers and everyone else in Canada. For what has to be one of the coolest Ph.D theses ever, Blake read more than two-dozen hockey novels for adults — including “50 Mission Cap” — and “perhaps a hundred short stories.”

Published last year, “Canadian Hockey Literature” (University of Toronto Press) reveals how deeply ingrained the game is in our collective consciousness.

“It’s everywhere. Hockey shows up effortlessly, or seemingly effortlessly, in all kinds of literature. It’s something that resonates with every Canadian. Even those who don’t like hockey, or have never played it, can relate to its importance,” Blake told me during a Skype conversation the other day.

The Torontonian also noticed that the mythic moments of the game — those scenes where hockey helps bring about epiphany and meditative introspection for its characters — occur in the pastoral setting of a public rink or private frozen pond.

“You couldn’t really have those moments in organized hockey. It would just be too hard to sell to readers,” Blake said, noting the cynicism that surrounds all sports, where greed and corruption spoil any attempts to romanticize the feathering of a puck toward twine or the ardor you feel when muscle ripples down the back of your leg upon the letting go of a shot that has a chance.

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August 11, 2008

50 Mission Cap

[Published in 2001 – read reviews]

Chapter One

The saviour was supposed to come in the form of a skinny kid from a town with a long French name. That’s what I had been told. After three seasons so miserable 2-1 defeats became bearable and shootout losses downright success stories, it was also what I needed to hear. Not only had the Kildare Kougars obtained a supreme talent, but we were going to win because of it. Make the playoffs, get on a roll, maybe even, you know, catch a break here or there, and, who knows after that, right?

Okay, so I was getting ahead of myself, but who wouldn’t have?

“Scott, things are going to be different now,” said the team’s new owners. “We can finally get this town a winner and you that scholarship.”

And there was more. No more month-long losing streaks, they had sold me. No more getting used to teammates only to see them traded away. No more disrespect. And I bought into it, all of it, no matter if it was true; it was the hope I was after. That’s what I told Grandpa Joe, and he understood. I knew he would. For both of us, the truth could wait. In tiny Kildare, Ontario, life, as my teammates and I knew it, was about to change.

The previous year we had won just ten of fifty-six games. Think of that: ten of fifty-six. So many players came and went, and the losing streaks dragged on so long that by the end of it I felt I had endured a career. Still, after three humiliating seasons as a Kougar, I returned for more; in uniform again, preparing for a new season. Lured back, with hope and promise as the bait, to that parochial little town in the heart of the Ottawa Valley.

But I felt conned when Dion Marcelle, the keeper of much of that promise, arrived at training camp. Swiftly, like a slap, the phenom managed to sully expectations before even one practice. He had no confidence, much less an aura of greatness. Tall and gangly, he kept his head hung low, hiding his pimply face, acting more like a nerd than a talent. On the ice, he would stumble when he tried to turn a corner and was so slow he barely stayed ahead of the fully equipped goaltenders, limited because they strained to contain their laughter. It wasn’t long before he began to pant, taking deep, heaving breaths and blowing out frosty air as if allergic to it. A supposedly speedy centre with a wicked shot, Marcelle had moved to Kildare with his family from rural Quebec because “of undisclosed personal reasons,” as the paper reported. The Kougars, believing the scouting reports that oozed with praise for him, immediately brought him in to foster change on our Junior A team that needed lots of it. Unfortunately, Marcelle displayed no traces of being a star, let alone a salve. After finishing my laps, I brushed my black hair out of my eyes, wiped sweat from my face and leaned against the boards, shaking my head at the sight of him lagging behind the other players, only a handful of whom showed signs of skill themselves. It wasn’t long before I had company.

In my daze, I didn’t notice Brendan Kowalczek, my best friend and our best player, gliding toward me. He was bent over with his stick resting across his knees until he whacked me on the shin with it: a hockey player’s hello.

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