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The Hockey Fanatics’ Definitive List of Hockey Books

25 Hockey Books All Hockey Fans Should Read

Being a self-proclaimed Hockey Fanatic means that you eat, sleep and breath hockey. When I started the Hockey Fanatic site back in 2011 , I wanted to share all of the great experiences that come along with being a hockey fan. I wanted to create a site for the true hockey fan where they could go to find fun hockey lists, notable hockey stats and entertaining hockey anecdotes. It’s pretty been a one-man show. I am the author, I’m the editor, I’m the hockey fan who uses the Hockey Fanatic as a great hockey resource.

My inspiration is a simple one. I am passionate about hockey. No, I never got to play at the high level that I probably should have, but I’ve been involved in so many facets of the game. I’ve been an official, I’ve been a players, I’ve coached a little, I’ve been a spectator and my most important job I’m a hockey parent.

My collection of hockey books is impressive to say the least.  I believe I have every book written about the Edmonton Oilers (save one). I enjoy the tails that former NHL players, coaches and executives tell. I especially enjoy the writings of Ken Dryden who has authored some of the greatest hockey books to have ever been published. Mr. Dryden even inspired me to write my own hockey book: Burning the Midnight Oil: The Story of a Lifelong Oilers Fan .

new hockey biography books

With the holiday season coming up, you might be in the market for a Christmas gift for that special hockey fan in your life. May I recommend a good hockey book?  There are so man, but to help you decide on which hockey book to consider I present to you The Hockey Fanatics Definitive list of 25 hockey books that all hockey fans should read.

Within our list of the top twenty-five hockey books that all hockey fans should read are books for the past 50 years. There are too many to list here but there have been some great books that have come out over the past decade that could have easily made this list as well.

Honorable Mention : Hockey Card Stories: True Tales from Your Favourite Players – Ken Reid – This is a fun book.  Amazon describes the book as “Hockey Card Stories reveals what was really going on in your favourite old hockey cards through the eyes of the players depicted on them. Some of the cards are definitely worth a few bucks, some a few cents ― but every story told here is priceless. Sportsnet’s Ken Reid presents the cards you loved and the airbrushed monstrosities that made you howl, the cards that have been packed away in boxes forever, and others you can’t believe ever existed.”

Hockey Card Stories by Ken Reid

#25: The Hockey Sweater – Authored by Roch Carrier (1979) . An all-time classic and iconic piece of Canadian literature. Amazon’s recap of the classic short story: In the days of Roch’s childhood, winters in the village of Ste. Justine were long. Life centered around school, church, and the hockey rink, and every boy’s hero was Montreal Canadiens hockey legend Maurice Richard. Everyone wore Richard’s number 9. They laced their skates like Richard. They even wore their hair like Richard. When Roch outgrows his cherished Canadiens sweater, his mother writes away for a new one. Much to Roch’s horror, he is sent the blue and white sweater of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs, dreaded and hated foes to his beloved team. How can Roch face the other kids at the rink?

The Hockey Sweater

#24. The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team – Wayne Coffey – In 1980, the United States Olympic hockey team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history, winning the first medal round match against the Soviet Union. Lead by the visionary coaching of Herb Brooks, whose motivational techniques have since been immortalized in the film Miracle, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team pulled out the Miracle on Ice. If you’re a fan of Team USA you’ll love this read.

The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey

#23. Play Better Hockey: The Essential Skills for Player Development – Ron Davidson – for the hockey player in your life, “Play Better Hockey: The Essential Skills for Player Development” (second edition) of Ron Davidson’s best-selling volume has been retooled with even more individual skill advancements for the modern player. From fundamentals to high-level skills, Play Better Hockey gives players the tools they need to become the next superstars of the NHL by focusing on the development of individual hockey skills and by promoting a mastery of body positioning, skating and stick work.

Play Better Hockey by Ron Davison

#22: The Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer – Dave Schultz – Published in 1981, The Hammer depicts the career of former Broad Street bully Dave Schultz. The Hockey Fanatic listed Dave Schultz as the second best NHL fighter of all-time . Schultz still holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a single season, at 472. Learn more about what it was like being an NHL tough guy during the heyday of 1970’s NHL hockey.

The Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer by Dave Schultz

#21. Tretiak: The Legend – Vladislav Tretiak – Published in 1987, Tretiak: The Legend provides an enlightening look into the hockey career of one of the greatest goaltenders the world has ever seen. It provides the story of Vladik Tretiak’s personal life and his relationships with his coaches, teammates and rivals. Relive the Canada / Russia hockey battles from the lens of a Soviet player. If you are a fan of the Russia/Canadian hockey rivalry (and Cold War politics) you should like this book.

Tretiak: The Legend

#20. A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & The Rise of Professional Hockey – Stephen J. Harper – Published in 2013, relive the history of hockey’s first decades and the early star players of the game. A Great Game shows how much about hockey has stayed the same with string hard-nosed play, fervent hockey fan hometown loyalties, owner-player contract disputes, partisan news coverage, and how big money were issues from the get-go. Hockey is a great game and learning about some of the early history shows how the game has grown but maintained critical aspects to be the game we all love to play and watch.

A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & The Rise of Professional Hockey

#19. Unbreakable: 50 Goals in 39 Games: Wayne Gretzky and the Story of Hockey’s Greatest Record –Mike Brophy and Todd Denault – there are a few books out there about Wayne Gretzky.  I included this one because this is simply one amazing record that may never be broken.  This book focuses on the 1981-1982 season in which he only needed thirty-nine games to score fifty goals. The fun of this book is that you get to be on the ice during each one of these games, as Gretzky describes them. I have been waiting to read this book and cannot wait to dive in. Originally published in 2016.

Unbreakable: 50 Goals in 39 Games

#18. Crossroads: My Story of Tragedy and resilience as a Humboldt Bronco – Kaleb Dahlgren – On April 6, 2018, the Humboldt Broncos were going to a playoff game when a semi-truck struck their bus in which the collision resulted in sixteen deaths and thirteen injuries. Among the victims was Kaleb Dahlgren, who suffered a fractured skull and dislocated shoulder. Dahlgren tells his story of resilience in the face of the Broncos bus tragedy. He describes his journey from being hospitalized and in critical condition to making a full recovery and eventually returning to play for the Broncos. This is his story…

Crossroads: My Story of Tragedy and Resilience as a Humboldt Bronco

#17. Hockey Moms: The Heart of the Game – Theresa Bailey / Terry Marcotte – In the Hockey universe we can argue that there is no one more important than the Hockey Mom.  Hockey moms: The Heart of the Game is a great collection of stories and celebration of the unsung heroes behind the game, including first-hand stories from moms of the NHL’s biggest stars. Hockey Moms laces together the stories of NHL hockey moms like Kelly McDavid and Ema Matthews with those of mothers who never expected their children to set foot on the ice.

Hockey Moms: The Heart of the Game

#16. Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice – Hayley Wickenheiser.  The greatest women’s hockey player of all time, Hayley Wickenheiser shares the lessons that won her four Olympic gold medals, and hard-earned wisdom.  Published in 2021, Hayley shares the hard-won lessons she learned on and off the ice that helped her not only have a record-breaking hockey career but craft a life filled with joy, growth, and challenges.

Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice

#15. Cujo: The Untold Story of My Life On and Off the Ice – Cutis Joseph / Kirstie McLellan Day – Published in 2019, this is a book that a number of people have recommended to me over the past couple of years.  A 31 best seller, Amazon describes this book as… “in this revealing memoir, Joseph talks about his highly unusual upbringing and what led him to put on his first pair of skates. Written by Kirstie McLellan Day, the world’s top writer of hockey books, this book surprises and entertains, and shares on- and off-the-ice tales no fan has heard before: the untold story behind the legend.”

Cujo: The Untold Story of My Life On and Off the Ice

#14. Burke’s Law: A Life in Hockey – Bryan Burke / Stephen Brunt. Published in 2020, Burke’s Law is an entertaining journey through the life of an NHL executive and one of the biggest hockey personalities. Some great stories of his days as an NHL GM, junior player and advocate of the game. Want to learn how he pulled off the trade at the draft to land both Henrik and Daniel Sedin?  It’s in there too.  Great read.

Burke's Law: A Life in Hockey

#13. Playing with Fire – Theoren Fleury -Published in 2009 and co-written with author Kirstie McLellan Day, Theoren Fleury documents how he became a star player in junior and in the NHL, Stanley Cup champion and an Olympic gold medalist despite battling drug and alcohol addictions that ultimately ended his NHL career. A best seller, Playing with Fire sold over 80,000 copies within six weeks of its release.

Playing with Fire by Theoren Fleury

#12. A Helluva Life in Hockey – Brian McFarlane – Brian McFarlane is one of the great storytellers of the game of hockey.  Published in 1989, A Helluva Life in Hockey is a captivating memoir from Canada’s foremost hockey historian and a beloved NHL commentator. McFarlane has written 96 (with one in the works) books on hockey, selling over 1.3 million books.

A Helluva Life in Hockey

#11. Orr: My Story – Bobby Orr – there are so many great hockey memoirs out there (as you can see on our list). Published in 2014m Bobby Orr’s “Orr My Story” is a great look into one of the games and sports most loved athletes.  Many will still describe Bobby Orr as the greatest hockey player to play the game. As Chapters-Indigo describes the book: “In the end, this is not just a book about hockey. The most meaningful biographies and memoirs rise above the careers out of which they grew. Bobby Orr’s life goes far deeper than Stanley Cup rings, trophies and recognitions. His story is not only about the game, but also the age in which it was played. It’s the story of a small-town kid who came to define its highs and lows, and inevitably it is a story of the lessons he learned along the way.”

Bobby Orr: My Story

#10. Mr. Hockey: My Story – Gordie Howe – Published in 2013, Mr. Hockey: My Story is a great read about the playing career of arguably the NHL’s best all-around player Gordie Howe. Mr. Hockey shares some insights into how different the game was in the 40’s and 50s and when he was young regarding player contracts, players getting paid peanuts, and playing through horrible travel conditions. From the fields of Saskatchewan to the ice of Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Gordie Howe is Mr. Hockey.

Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe

#9. Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the N.H.L.’s First Treaty Indigenous Player – Fred Saskamoose – Published in 2021, an amazing story of how Sasakamoose was taken from his home and sent to a residential school but went on to play in the NHL and played against some of the greatest players in the history of the league. Learn about how Fred Saskamoose became the first Indigenous player to make the National Hockey League.

Call Me Indian - Fred Saskamoose

#8. The Russian Five: A Story of Espionage, Defection, Bribery, and Courage – Keith Gave. Published in 2018, The Russian Five is a great account of how the 1990’s Detroit Red Wings became the dominant powerhouse in the NHL largely because of the Russian Five.  They is a great documentary on this as well, but the book is an amazing read of how the Detroit Red Wings went from outhouse in the eighties to penthouse in the nineties.  This is the story of espionage, defection, and bribery that brought five Russian players to the Detroit Red Wings dating back to the early eighties.

The Russian Five

#7. 99: Stories of the Game – Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day – Published in 2016, The Great One” shares some of his favourite stories as he recalls memories of his legendary career with an inside look at the sport of professional hockey, and the heroes and stories that inspired him.

99 Stories of the Game - Wayne Gretzky

#6. Beauties: Hockey’s Greatest Untold Stories – James Duthie – Published in 2021, Duthie has compiled a number of great stories some fun some funny. The Roberto Luongo foreward is worth the price of this book alone.

Beauties: Hockey's Greatest Untold Stories

#5. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association – Ed Willes.  From Bobby Hull’ s astonishing million-dollar signing to how the Edmonton Oilers had to smuggle fugitive forward Frankie Beaton out of their dressing room in an equipment bag, The Rebel League includes a bunch of great anecdotes of the WHA. A very entertaining read. Originally published in 2005, The Rebel League is one of The Hockey Fanatic’s all-time favourite hockey books.

WHA: The Rebel League

#4. Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey – Ken Dryden – Ken Dryden is a Conn Smythe winning goalie and a best selling author. Published in 2107, Game Change is a powerful examination of hockey’s failure to address the growing issue of head shots and concussions in hockey. Well researched and very convincing, Dryden writes about the life of Steve Montador from his youth and his minor hockey days in Ontario to the end of his NHL career due to multiple head injuries and his untimely death at the age of 35. Dryden looks at the scientific quest to better understand the short and longtime effects of concussions and describes the history of game of hockey to illustrate how players are more vulnerable than ever to these types of head injuries.

Game Change - Ken Dryden

#3. Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the N.H.L.’s First Black Player – Published in 2020, I must say that this is one of my favourite hockey books that I have ever read. Written by Willie O’Ree and Michael McKinley, the book details how O’Ree, not unlike Jackie Robinson in baseball became the for African-Canadian to play in the National Hockey League. Simply put, Willie O’Ree is an amazing man with courage, skill, ands smarts to excel at the game of hockey. Willie O’Ree was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2018 and was a key component in the creation of the NHL Diversity program.

Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player

#2. The Game – Ken Dryden – Published in 1983, The Game by Ken Dryden is one of the greatest books written of all time. Much of the book is about Dryden’s Canadiens teammates, life on the road, and details of the life of a professional hockey player. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the Montreal Canadiens 1978-79 team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup. Gain insights about some of the games all-time great players from one of the players themselves. Ken Dryden was not like other pro hockey players, it is an amazing view of the game and the locker room from one who was within the inner sanctum. Sports Illustrated has list “The Game” as one of the greatest sports books of all time.

The Game by Ken Dryden

#1.  The Game of Our Lives – Peter Gzowski – released in 1981, this was the first real hockey book I remember reading. The original cover of the book actually features Wayne Gretzky on it. The book recounts the 1980-81 season Peter Gzowski spent travelling around the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers. What makes this book so much more amazing is that it details the Oilers pre-Stanley Cup championships, describes all of those great Hall-of-Famers as they were just stating their NHL careers. You don’t have to be an Edmonton Oilers fan to appreciate this but it you are an Oilers fan you will love this book!

The Game of Our Lives - Peter Gzowski

There you have it, The Hockey Fanatic’s Definitive list of hockey books that all hockey fans should read. Of course, there are many more hockey books that are amazing reads, but this list covers a diverse perspective of the game. Heck did you know there is even a hockey romance book category of hockey books? What’s the best hockey book ever? Well, that’s for you to decide. We’re hoping our list will whet your appetite to pick up a good hockey book and learn about some of the game’s greatest events and players that have played, coached, parented or officiated the game.

5 Great Hockey Books for Kids

You may have noticed that we included one children’s hockey book on our list. There are many great hockey books for children, so we will feature some of the best hockey books for children in an upcoming post, but for now here’s five great hockey books for kids.

#5. I Am a Zamboni Machine – Kevin Viala (2014) Younger hockey fans will love seeing this big Zamboni machine in action! Featuring simple facts and colourful illustrations, this book follows a Zamboni as it does its job to clear and resurface the rink.

I Am a Zamboni Machine

#4. The Moccasin Goalie – Written by William Roy Brownridge (2016). Danny has a disability that prevents him from being able to wear skates, but that doesn’t stop him from playing the sport he loves with his friends, hockey. Only one of his friends gets picked for the town team, but later on Danny has the chance to prove that he could be a good asset to the team.

The Moccasin Goalie

#3. Goodnight Hockey – Michael Dahl (author) / Christina E Forshay (illustrator) – 2017 . Any fans of the Goodnight Moon children’s book? Goodnight Hockey is the perfect bedtime board book for every hockey fan! The rhyming text, exciting illustrations, and classic sport combination are a hat-trick of fun for the whole family.

Goodnight Hockey

#2. Just One Goal – Robert Munsch (author) Michael Martchenko (illustrator) – 2008 . Ciara is tired of hauling her hockey gear across town to play on the rink. It makes no sense―there is a perfectly good frozen river in her own backyard! But her dad says it’s too jagged, and her mom says it’s too bumpy, and her older sisters don’t see why she can’t keep going all the way across town, just like they did. But Ciara won’t let anybody stop her. And with a little help from the neighbourhood, she knows that her team, the River Rink Rats, will finally win a game on their own brand new rink.

Just One Goal

#1. The Hockey Sweater – Authored by Roch Carrier (1979) . An all-time classic an iconic piece of Canadian literature. Amazon’s recap of the classic short story: In the days of Roch’s childhood, winters in the village of Ste. Justine were long. Life centered around school, church, and the hockey rink, and every boy’s hero was Montreal Canadiens hockey legend Maurice Richard. Everyone wore Richard’s number 9. They laced their skates like Richard. They even wore their hair like Richard. When Roch outgrows his cherished Canadiens sweater, his mother writes away for a new one. Much to Roch’s horror, he is sent the blue and white sweater of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs, dreaded and hated foes to his beloved team. How can Roch face the other kids at the rink?

The Hockey Sweater

Other hockey book lists that you might be interested in:

  • Celebrate the NHL Centennial with the top 100 hockey books:
  • 26 awesome hockey books (Today’s Parent)
  • 25 Must Read Books about Hockey and the NHL:
  • 30 in 30: Notable Hockey Books
  • 17 Best Hockey Biography Books of All Time (Editor’s Note: We do not necessarily agree with the books featured on this list, but there are still some fine choices).

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Hockey at the Olympic Games – a brief history

new hockey biography books

With just over one month to go until the start of Tokyo 2020, we provide a snapshot summary of the history of hockey at the Olympic Games, a saga that began well over a century ago.


The formation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1924 was not soon enough for the Paris Olympics but it did grant hockey re-entry in Amsterdam in 1928. Hockey has been on the programme ever since, with women's hockey included for the first time in Moscow in 1980. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, hockey celebrated 100years as an Olympic sport, while at London 2012, hockey was the third biggest sport in terms of ticket sales with over 630,000 sold. The Olympics is the ultimate hockey competition, with the Olympic gold medal being the most coveted prize in the sport.

India is the most successful country with eight Olympic gold medals, all of which were won by the men's team between 1928 and 1980. Pakistan, India’s great rivals, also enjoyed incredible success, winning three golds, three silvers and two bronze medals between 1956 and 1976.

In more recent years, the men's and women's teams of Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain and Argentina have all made big impressions. Between 1996 and 2012, the Netherlands men contested four out of the five Olympic finals played during that period, winning gold at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. The Dutch women have also enjoyed considerable success, competing in every final from 2004 to 2016 and winning gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, adding to the title they claimed in 1984.

Germany and Australia have also left indelible marks on Olympic hockey, with Germany winning five golds (men: 1972, 1992, 2000 & 2012 / women: 2004) and Australia four (women 1988, 1996 & 2000 / men: 2004).

Hockey has also seen its fair share of triumphs by the so-called underdogs. New Zealand men stunned the world to take gold at Montreal 1976, with Zimbabwe women creating shockwaves by winning at Moscow 1980 and Spain’s women making home advantage count to storm to gold at Barcelona 1992.

The most recent edition, Rio 2016, proved to be another year with unexpected winners, with Argentina men and Great Britain women – two teams ranked 7 th in the world going into the competition – creating new chapters in hockey’s history books by snatching Olympic golds for the first time.

While Argentina men and Great Britain women will be determined to defend their respective Olympic titles, they will be challenged every step of the way by the world’s finest teams on the planet’s greatest sporting stage.

The hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will take place from Saturday 24 July to Friday 6 August 2021. Both the men’s and women’s competitions feature 12 teams, split into two pools of six ahead of quarter-finals, semi-finals and medal matches.

For more information about the hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit . 

Hockey at the Olympic Games – a summary

All Time Olympic Placements - Men Rio de Janeiro 2016: 1: Argentina, 2: Belgium, 3: Germany, 4: Netherlands, 5: Spain, 6: Australia, 7: New Zealand, 8: India, 9: Great Britain, 10: Ireland, 11: Canada, 12: Brazil London 2012: 1. Germany, 2. Netherlands, 3. Australia, 4. Great Britain, 5. Belgium, 6. Spain, 7. Pakistan, 8. Korea, 9. New Zealand, 10. Argentina, 11. South Africa, 12. India

Beijing 2008 : 1. Germany, 2. Spain, 3. Australia, 4. Netherlands, 5. Great Britain, 6. Korea, 7. New Zealand 8. Pakistan, 9. Belgium, 10. Canada, 11. China, 12. South Africa

Athens 2004 : 1. Australia, 2. Netherlands, 3. Germany, 4. Spain, 5. Pakistan, 6. New Zealand, 7. India, 8. Korea, 9. Great Britain, 10. South Africa, 11. Argentina, 12. Egypt

Sydney 2000 : 1. Netherlands, 2. Korea, 3. Australia, 4. Pakistan, 5. Germany, 6. Great Britain, 7. India, 8. Argentina, 9. Spain, 10. Canada, 11. Malaysia, 12. Poland

Atlanta 1996 : 1. Netherlands, 2. Spain, 3. Australia, 4. Germany, 5. Korea, 6. Pakistan, 7. Great Britain, 8. India, 9. Argentina, 10. South Africa, 11. Malaysia, 12. United States

Barcelona 1992 : 1. Germany, 2. Australia, 3. Pakistan, 4. Netherlands, 5. Spain, 6. Great Britain, 7. India, 8. New Zealand, 9. Malaysia, 10. CIS (Russia), 11. Argentina, 12. Egypt

Seoul 1988 : 1. Great Britain, 2. W. Germany, 3. Netherlands, 4. Australia, 5. Pakistan, 6. India, 7. Soviet Union, 8. Argentina, 9. Spain, 10. Korea, 11. Canada, 12. Kenya

Los Angeles 1984 : 1. Pakistan, 2. W. Germany, 3. Great Britain, 4. Australia, 5. India, 6. Netherlands, 7. New Zealand, 8. Spain, 9. Kenya, 10. Malaysia, 11. United States

Moscow 1980 : 1. India, 2. Spain, 3. Soviet Union, 4. Poland, 5. Cuba, 6. Tanzania

Montreal 1976 : 1. New Zealand, 2. Australia, 3. Pakistan, 4. Netherlands, 5. W. Germany, 6. Spain, 7. India, 8. Malaysia, 9. Belgium, 10. Canada, 11. Argentina

Munich 1972 : 1. W. Germany, 2. Pakistan, 3. India, 4. Netherlands 5. Australia, 6. Great Britain, 7. Spain, 8. Malaysia, 9. New Zealand, 10. Belgium, 11. Poland, 12. France, 13. Kenya, 14. Argentina, 15. Uganda, 16. Mexico

Mexico City 1968 : 1. Pakistan, 2. Australia, 3. India, 4. W. Germany, 5. Netherlands, 6. Spain, 7. New Zealand, 8. Kenya, 9. Belgium, 10. France, 11. E. Germany, 12. Great Britain, 12. Japan, 14. Argentina, 15. Malaysia, 16. Mexico

Tokyo 1964 : 1. India, 2. Pakistan, 3. Australia, 4. Spain, 5. E. Germany, 6. Kenya

Rome 1960 : 1. Pakistan, 2. India, 3. Spain, 4. Great Britain, 5. New Zealand, 6. Australia, 7. W. Germany, 8. Kenya, 9. Netherlands 10. France, 11. Belgium, 12. Poland, 13. Italy, 14. Japan, 15. Switzerland, 16. Denmark

Melbourne 1956 : 1. India, 2. Pakistan, 3. W. Germany, 4. Great Britain, 5. Australia, 6. New Zealand, 7. Belgium, 8. Singapore, 9. Malaysia, 10. Kenya, 11. Afghanistan, 12. United States

Helsinki 1952 : 1. India, 2. Netherlands, 3. Great Britain, 4. Pakistan, 5. W. Germany, 6. Poland, 7. Austria, 8. Switzerland

London 1948 : 1. India, 2. Great Britain, 3. Netherlands, 4. Pakistan

Berlin 1936 : 1. India, 2. Germany, 3. Netherlands, 4. France, 5. Switzerland, 6. Afghanistan, 7. Japan, 8. Hungary, 9. Belgium, 10. Denmark, 11. United States

Los Angeles 1932 : 1. India, 2. Japan, 3. United States

Amsterdam 1928 : 1. India, 2. Netherlands, 3. Germany, 4. Belgium

Antwerp 1920 : 1. Great Britain, 2. Denmark, 3. Belgium, 4. France

London 1908 : 1. England, 2. Ireland, 3. Wales, 4. Scotland 5. Germany, 6. France

All-time Olympic Placements - Women

Rio de Janeiro 2016: 1: Great Britain, 2: Netherlands, 3: Germany, 4: New Zealand, 5: United States, 6: Australia, 7: Argentina, 8: Spain, 9: China, 10, Japan, 11: Korea, 12: India London 2012: 1: Netherlands, 2: Argentina, 3: Great Britain, 4: New Zealand, 5: Australia, 6: China, 7: Germany, 8: Korea, 9: Japan, 10: South Africa, 11: Belgium, 12: United States

Beijing 2008: 1: Netherlands, 2: China, 3: Argentina, 4: Germany, 5: Australia, 6: Great Britain, 7: Spain, 8: United States, 9: Korea, 10: Japan, 11: South Africa, 12: New Zealand

Athens 2004: 1: Germany, 2: Netherlands, 3: Argentina, 4: China, 5: Australia, 6: New Zealand, 7: Korea, 8: Japan, 9: South Africa, 10: Spain

Sydney 2000: 1: Australia, 2: Argentina, 3: Netherlands, 4: Spain, 5: China, 6: New Zealand, 7: Germany, 8: Great Britain, 9: Korea, 10: South Africa

Atlanta 1996: 1: Australia, 2: Korea, 3: Netherlands, 4: Great Britain, 5: United States, 6: Germany, 7: Argentina, 8: Spain

Barcelona 1992: 1: Spain, 2: Germany, 3: Great Britain, 4: Korea, 5: Australia, 6: Netherlands, 7: Canada, 8: New Zealand

Seoul 1988: 1: Australia, 2: Korea, 3: Netherlands, 4: Great Britain, 5: West Germany, 6: Canada, 7: Argentina, 8: United States

Los Angeles 1984: 1: Netherlands, 2: West Germany, 3: United States, 4: Australia, 5: Canada, 6: New Zealand

Moscow 1980: 1: Zimbabwe, 2: Czechoslovakia, 3: Soviet Union, 4: India, 5: Austria, 6: Poland

All-Time Olympic Finals – Men

Rio de Janeiro 2016: Belgium 2-4 Argentina London 2012: Germany 2-1 Netherlands
 Beijing 2008: Germany 1-0 Spain
 Athens 2004: Netherlands 1-2 Australia (aet)
 Sydney 2000: Korea 3-3 Netherlands (aps 4-5)
 Atlanta 1996: Spain 1-3 Netherlands
 Barcelona 1992: Germany 2-1 Australia
 Seoul 1988: Great Britain 3-1 West Germany
 Los Angeles 1984: Pakistan 2-1 West Germany (aet)
 Moscow 1980: India 4-3 Spain
 Montreal 1976: New Zealand 1-0 Australia
 Munich 1972: West Germany 1-0 Pakistan
 Mexico City 1968: Pakistan 2-1 Australia
 Tokyo 1964: Pakistan 0-1 India
 Rome 1960: Pakistan 1-0 India
 Melbourne 1956: India 1-0 Pakistan
 Helsinki 1952: India 6-1 Netherlands
 London 1948: India 4-0 Great Britain
 Berlin 1936: India 8-1 Germany
 Los Angeles 1932: No final – Round Robin Amsterdam 1928: India 3-0 Netherlands
 Antwerp 1920: No final – Round Robin London 1908: Great Britain (ENG) 8-1 Great Britain (IRL)

All-Time Olympic Finals - Women

Rio de Janeiro 2016 : Netherlands 3-3 Great Britain (aso 0-2) London 2012: Netherlands 2-0 Argentina Beijing 2008: China 0-2 Netherlands Athens 2004: Netherlands 1-2 Germany Sydney 2000: Argentina 1-3 Australia Atlanta 1996: Australia 3-1 Korea Barcelona 1992: Spain 2-1 Germany (aet) Seoul 1988: Australia 2-0 Korea Los Angeles 1984: No final – Round Robin Moscow 1980: No final – Round Robin Legend: aps - after penalty strokes. aet - after extra time. aso – after shoot-out.

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An Appraisal

Alice Munro, a Literary Alchemist Who Made Great Fiction From Humble Lives

The Nobel Prize-winning author specialized in exacting short stories that were novelistic in scope, spanning decades with intimacy and precision.

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This black-and-white photo shows a smiling woman with short, thick dark hair sitting in a chair. The woman is wearing a loose fitting, short-sleeve white blouse, the fingers of her right hand holding the end of a long thing chain necklace that she is wearing around her neck. To the woman’s right, we can see part of a table lamp and the table it stands on, and, behind her, a dark curtain and part of a planter with a scraggly houseplant.

By Gregory Cowles

Gregory Cowles is a senior editor at the Book Review.

The first story in her first book evoked her father’s life. The last story in her last book evoked her mother’s death. In between, across 14 collections and more than 40 years, Alice Munro showed us in one dazzling short story after another that the humble facts of a single person’s experience, subjected to the alchemy of language and imagination and psychological insight, could provide the raw material for great literature.

Listen to this article with reporter commentary

And not just any person, but a girl from the sticks. It mattered that Munro, who died on Monday night at the age of 92, hailed from rural southwestern Ontario, since so many of her stories, set in small towns on or around Lake Huron, were marked by the ambitions of a bright girl eager to leave, upon whom nothing is lost. There was the narrator of “Boys and Girls,” who tells herself bedtime stories about a world “that presented opportunities for courage, boldness and self-sacrifice, as mine never did.” There was Rose, from “The Beggar Maid,” who wins a college scholarship and leaves her working-class family behind. And there was Del Jordan, from “Lives of Girls and Women” — Munro’s second book, and the closest thing she ever wrote to a novel — who casts a jaundiced eye on her town’s provincial customs as she takes the first fateful steps toward becoming a writer.

Does it seem reductive or limiting to derive a kind of artist’s statement from the title of that early book? It shouldn’t. Munro was hardly a doctrinaire feminist, but with implacable authority and command she demonstrated throughout her career that the lives of girls and women were as rich, as tumultuous, as dramatic and as important as the lives of men and boys. Her plots were rife with incident: the threatened suicide in the barn, the actual murder at the lake, the ambivalent sexual encounter, the power dynamics of desire. For a writer whose book titles gestured repeatedly at love (“The Progress of Love,” “The Love of a Good Woman,” “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”), her narratives recoiled from sentimentality. Tucked into the stately columns of The New Yorker, where she was a steady presence for decades, they were far likelier to depict the disruptions and snowballing consequences of petty grudges, careless cruelties and base impulses: the gossip that mattered.

Munro’s stories traveled not as the crow flies but as the mind does. You got the feeling that, if the GPS ever offered her a shorter route, she would decline. Capable of dizzying swerves in a line or a line break, her stories often spanned decades with intimacy and sweep; that’s partly what critics meant when they wrote of the novelistic scope she brought to short fiction.

Her sentences rarely strutted or flaunted or declared themselves; but they also never clanked or stumbled — she was an exacting and precise stylist rather than a showy one, who wrote with steely control and applied her ambitions not to language but to theme and structure. (This was a conscious choice on her part: “In my earlier days I was prone to a lot of flowery prose,” she told an interviewer when she won the Nobel Prize in 2013. “I gradually learned to take a lot of that out.”) In the middle of her career her stories started to grow roomier and more contemplative, even essayistic; they could feel aimless until you approached the final pages and recognized with a jolt that they had in fact been constructed all along as intricately and deviously as a Sudoku puzzle, every piece falling neatly into place.

There was a signature Munro tone: skeptical, ruminative, given to a crucial and artful ambiguity that could feel particularly Midwestern. Consider “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” which — thanks in part to Sarah Polley’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation, “ Away From Her ” (2006) — may be Munro’s most famous story; it details a woman’s descent into senility and her philandering husband’s attempt to come to terms with her attachment to a male resident at her nursing home. Here the husband is on a visit, confronting the limits of his knowledge and the need to make peace with uncertainty, in a characteristically Munrovian passage:

She treated him with a distracted, social sort of kindness that was successful in holding him back from the most obvious, the most necessary question. He could not demand of her whether she did or did not remember him as her husband of nearly 50 years. He got the impression that she would be embarrassed by such a question — embarrassed not for herself but for him. She would have laughed in a fluttery way and mortified him with her politeness and bewilderment, and somehow she would have ended up not saying either yes or no. Or she would have said either one in a way that gave not the least satisfaction.

Like her contemporary Philip Roth — another realist who was comfortable blurring lines — Munro devised multilayered plots that were explicitly autobiographical and at the same time determined to deflect or undermine that impulse. This tension dovetailed happily with her frequent themes of the unreliability of memory and the gap between art and life. Her stories tracked the details of her lived experience both faithfully and cannily, cagily, so that any attempt at a dispassionate biography (notably, Robert Thacker’s scholarly and substantial “Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives,” from 2005) felt at once invasive and redundant. She had been in front of us all along.

Until, suddenly, she wasn’t. That she went silent after her book “Dear Life” was published in 2012, a year before she won the Nobel, makes her passing now seem all the more startling — a second death, in a way that calls to mind her habit of circling back to recognizable moments and images in her work. At least three times she revisited the death of her mother in fiction, first in “The Peace of Utrecht,” then in “Friend of My Youth” and again in the title story that concludes “Dear Life”: “The person I would really have liked to talk to then was my mother,” the narrator says near the end of that story, in an understated gut punch of an epitaph that now applies equally well to Munro herself, but she “was no longer available.”

Read by Greg Cowles

Audio produced by Sarah Diamond .

Gregory Cowles is the poetry editor of the Book Review and senior editor of the Books desk. More about Gregory Cowles


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