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Wayne Gretzky's Ghost by Roy MacGregor
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Wayne Gretzky's Ghost

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Wayne Gretzky's Ghost by Roy MacGregor
Paperback $19.95
Nov 06, 2012 | ISBN 9780307357427

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“The Harper government should just go ahead and designate Roy MacGregor a national treasure and be done with it. . . . He’s the best writer around whose subject happens to be hockey. . . . MacGregor shows why he’s the best at chronicling Canada’s game.”
Ottawa Citizen
“The nation’s most incisive and interesting writer on the game and its hold on us.”
The Globe and Mail

“The closest thing there is to a poet laureate of Canadian hockey.”
The Washington Post
“He brings a rare—and trust me, admirable—touch to his work.”
Edmonton Journal
“MacGregor has a unique ability to balance objective reportage with a keen, emotional core; he has a good eye for the human interest angle, which intensifies his editorial thrust, rather than distracting from it.”
Ottawa Citizen
“Roy MacGregor’s friendly wit, acute observations, sympathy for people, innate curiosity, delightful modesty, and love of country have made him the reader of our national soul and diviner of our foibles, par excellence.”
—Jeffrey Simpson
“Peter Gzowski’s gone and both Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson are a bit too young yet, so that should probably hand the print title of Captain Canada to Roy MacGregor—if he weren’t so deserving of it anyways, for both craft and heart.”
Toronto Star

Author Essay

When the stumbling Colorado Rockies fired him, Cherry stumbled into a new career when Molson Breweries began lining him up for banquets. He was a hit and soon Ralph Mellanby, who was then producing Hockey Night in Canada, began bringing Cherry on between periods to comment and entertain. The fans instantly fell in love, but Cherry was not an easy sell in the corporate offices of the CBC, where the new commentator was instantly under fire for his characteristic mangling of the English language. Imagine the example this is setting for young viewers, they asked Mellanby, the irony never seeming to strike that while Cherry was dangling his participles the Zamboni was often icing over the blood from the previous period’s fistfights. Mellanby said he would quit himself if Cherry was dumped, and Cherry soon became a Saturday night fixture.
When it comes to cleaning up hockey, the consensus among those who would act decisively is that, in Don Cherry, hockey has created its own monster. There are people at the highest levels of the game who despise Cherry’s persona at the same time as they like, and protect, the man. It means they will not go public with their criticism, and it means that they have accepted that his extraordinary popularity makes him untouchable. But they still wish fate had delivered hockey’s most important platform to someone with an appreciation of hockey’s troubled image. Cherry would argue that there is no image problem, and he can point to the fact that his thirty-minute videotape, Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey, has sold more than 150,000 copies, making it the top-selling video in Canada, and two more bestselling volumes have followed. There are no hot videos of Adam Oates’s greatest passes.
“Isn’t it ironic,” Cherry says in his Nepean restaurant as Volume III of the series pounds over his head, “that when there’s 17,500 at a game – fans who have all paid, incidentally – that when there’s a fight there’s 17,250 on their feet yelling?”
The videos and his redneck stance on hockey have made Cherry into the goons’ own protector in the hockey world, and in the world of the loud bar fan it has served only to increase his popularity. There are now thirteen such restaurants. He has a successful radio show which is syndicated to a hundred stations. He makes commercials, sometimes with his British bull terrier, Blue II, and sometimes with Rose. And he now makes far more per year than the top-paid coaches in the NHL.

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