The Gift of the Game
Full of the gentle humour and storytelling that he brings to “Music and Company” every morning, The Gift of the Game is Tom Allen’s exploration of the ways in which hockey can shape the relationship between fathers and sons.
In the winter of 2001 Tom Allen stepped onto a frozen lake with his eight-year-old son. They laced up their skates, set out chunks of firewood as goal posts, and played one-on-one hockey under an enormous blue sky.
This would mark a new turn in Allen’s relationship with Wesley, even as other relationships began to fall apart. When Allen and his wife go their separate ways, it is hockey that forms the enduring bond between father and son. As Wesley grows in confidence and purpose, Allen grows into the mythic role of hockey dad and assistant coach, and spends his empty afternoons working on his own game on outdoor rinks, if only to avoid the silence of his apartment.
But what is this game to which he has entrusted his fragile sense of well-being and his son’s emerging sense of self? With keen intelligence and self-deprecating emotional honesty, Allen sets about answering the questions that shape his new life: How does hockey mould us? To what degree are we defined by our love of the game and our wish to be admired for our skill on the ice? What are the implications for our culture of a game that so privileges violence? In making of hockey the arena of his pride and love and self-respect, Allen is forced to figure out what the game itself means.
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