Conflicted Scars: An Average Player’s Journey to the NHL

ECW. Oct. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781770416239. pap. $17.95. SPORTS
In this sports memoir/cautionary tale, retired Canadian hockey player Davis gives a frank account of his entire career, from youth teams to the pro leagues, and exposes the brutality (including injury, sexual abuse, bullying, and racism) that he says pervades even children’s hockey leagues. Born in a small prairie town in 1978, Davis, like many Canadian boys, began playing hockey young. He displayed uncommon skill by age seven—skating and passing smoothly and scoring goals at will—that made his coaches and parents fast-track him to development leagues. In his middle teens, he played in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and at 18 he was drafted professionally by the NHL’s Washington Capitals, although he never played in that league. He did, however, have several years of professional success playing in the Ontario Hockey League and in German Professional Hockey, winning three team championships. Later, as an educator and coach, he began noticing hockey’s physical and mental toll on young players. Attempting to understand his own bodily and emotional health and to protect his own children, he began writing down memories of what he had gone through as he rose through the ranks of hockey. The result is this very powerful, raw memoir calling into question many aspects of a hockey culture that glorifies sacrifice, toughness, and loyalty.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries serving youth athletes and their parents and coaches.
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