Their NHL statistics are easy to Google, but how they got to the Show is not.
© Metro Halifax’s Jeff Harper
Philip Croucher is coming to Charlottetown Tuesday night as part of tour promoting his first book, Road to the NHL. He will be at Indigo in Charlottetown from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Philip Croucher has chronicled the stories of seven Islanders as part of his first book, Road to the NHL. The book includes chapters on 25 Maritime hockey players, including Gerard Gallant, Forbes Kennedy, Al MacAdam, Billy and Bobby MacMillan, Adam McQuaid and Brad Richards.
“It sort of tells maybe a part of their journey a lot of people may not know about,” Croucher said. “It’s 25 small stories that tell a good message about where hard work and dedication can take you.”
It includes Richards leaving Murray Harbour as a 14-year-old to go to Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. It was a tough decision for Richards and his parents, Glen and Delite, to make.
“I don’t know if I could do it again,” Glen told Croucher. “Brad . . . was very mature for his age. If he wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have let him go.”
Summerside native and hockey analyst Doug MacLean wrote the foreword for the book, which includes 11 Nova Scotians and seven New Brunswick players. Each chapter is about 2,500 words.
“This wasn’t meant to be the best-of book,” Croucher said, explaining he wanted to cover different generations in the book. “I think the seven (Islanders) I did get, it’s hard to argue against any one of them.”
Croucher always had a passion for hockey.
He played the sport until he was 14 before he “officially retired,” but continued to watch the sport and pursued a career that would help him stay involved in the game. The Bedford, N.S., native came to Charlottetown and enrolled in the two-year journalism program at Holland College with an eye on sports reporting.
It’s 25 small stories that tell a good message about where hard work and dedication can take youPhilip Croucher, author of Road to the NHL
While he was here, he covered many Charlottetown Abbies junior A games for the college’s paper and did a magazine article about Kennedy.
He has covered the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for the Cape Breton Post and the Halifax Mooseheads for the Halifax Daily News. The married father of two is now the managing editor of Metro Halifax, a daily newspaper serving the city.
“I’ve always wanted to write a book and I guess I really didn’t know how to go about doing it,” he said.
When John MacIntyre, of MacIntyre Publishing, approached him with the idea for Road to the NHL, he thought it was good fit.
“The idea of trying to write one book on one person would have been a bit daunting for me,” he said. “I looked at this as 25 smaller stories.”
He enjoys listening to the players’ stories, but one stood out – Fredericton’s Willie O’Ree, who broke the colour barrier in 1958. O’Ree spoke openly about the racism he dealt with, but said he holds no animosity.
“He knew it was going to happen and it did happen,” Croucher said. “But for him to say at the end of the chapter that he would do it all over again because he loved hockey. He’s a pretty remarkable guy.”