50 Mission Cap

Front Cover
Trafford Publishing, 2001 - Fiction - 283 pages
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Scott MacGregor is back for his final season of junior hockey. After years of losing, he is finally ready to win, but is he ready for real life, too?

Set in the fictional town of Kildare, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley, 50 Mission Cap follows Scott and the Kougars through an action-filled season that is humorous, heart-breaking and true to the frenzied pace of the game.

It begins with Scott coping with his grandfather's illnes while also dealing with his other concerns; namely, trying to earn a scholarship to a U.S. school and bringing new life to the hapless Kougars. Things get complicated when Scott begins to worry about a teammate's mysterious troubles. Add a pair of Russian misfits, a new romance, a car crash and an interfering billionaire, and Scott's life hurtles closer to chaos.

In the end, he learns about the consequences of action and the rewards of sacrifice.

Reviews

from Writer's Digest, April 2002

50 Mission Cap presents an impressively complex look at young athletes and the potentially disastrous effects of the pressure placed upon them. Never shying away from difficult issues, the novel deals with love, crime, molestation, illness and the intricate bonds between players and their coaches.

by Dave Noppe, The Pembroke Daily Observer

Adrian Brijbassi takes us into the heart of small-town culture and gives us a rare, unflinching glimpse into the world of junior hockey. A world where young men, barely into their teens are under pressure to win, prove themselves worthy of that ever-elusive U.S. hockey scholarship. A world where young hockey players enjoy a celebrity-like status in a small town and where sometimes that status comes at a very high personal price.

Based in the fictional Ottawa Valley town of Kildare, 50 Mission Cap is told through the eyes of Scott MacGregor as he plays his last season with the Kildare Kougars. The Kougars have been perennial losers but this year things are going to be different. As he navigates the campaign with the Kougars, MacGregor has to maneuver around such serious obstacles as sexual abuse, alcoholism and the alienation from his family.

The team's newest coach Tyler Raycliffe is determined to turn the team around and he's counting on MacGregor and his close friend and team captain Brendan Kowalczek to lead the way. MacGregor must balance friendship, sacrifice and personal loss as he strives to reach his lofty dreams.

    "'This is the beginning of the new Kildare Kougars, lads,' Tyler Raycliffe said before wrapping up practice. 'This town wants a winner. It deserves a winner. And you can give it to them Each and every one of you.'
    But what would Kildare give us? Indeed, what would it take?
    Raycliffe blew his whistle and we filed off the ice. One by one, our group of teenaged boys disappeared into the dark of Leroux Arena, some of us innocent. Each of us full of hope.
    Thus began my final season of junior hockey and the most tumultuous year of my life."

Based on his experiences and observations while covering junior 'A' hockey as a sports editor in the Ottawa Valley, Brijbassi creates a compelling story that bridges the narrow gap between fiction and reality. His narrative brings into focus the pressure that is put on young athletes who are asked to carry the burden of the expectations of an entire community.

The novel's title comes from a song by The Tragically Hip which has become an arena anthem. 50 Mission Cap is Brijbassi's first novel and his writing mirrors the game on the ice. The story's as fluid as a long leading break-out pass and as intense and fast-paced as a down-low, power-play cycle.

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