Get to know the men who fulfilled their childhood dream
From the beer league to the minor league, hockey players from coast to coast often say they’d give anything to play just one game in the NHL. One Night Only brings you the stories of 39 men who lived the dream — only to see it fade away almost as quickly as it arrived. Ken Reid talks to players who had one game, and one game only, in the National Hockey League — including the most famous single-gamer of them all: the coach himself, Don Cherry.
Was it a dream come true or was it heartbreak? What did they learn from their hockey journey and how does it define them today? From the satisfied to the bitter, Ken Reid unearths the stories from hockey’s equivalent to one-hit wonders in the follow-up to his bestselling Hockey Card Stories.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The 39 men profiled in One Night Only share a dubious distinction: they all played a single game in the National Hockey League. Ken Reid has an easy way with his interview subjects, and he teases out both minor drama (mad dashes to catch last-minute flights) and major disappointments (letting a whopping 10 goals slip through). But these aren’t simply sob stories. Reid focuses on the possibilities that lie beyond big-league glory—whether it’s Darren Boyko’s stellar career in Finland, Don Waddell’s climb through management, or Don Cherry’s rock-em, sock-em success.
So many hockey fans dream of what it would be like to play in the National Hockey League, even just for one game; this book is a fascinating, if somewhat repetitive, look at a select few who achieved that dubious feat. Reid, a Sportsnet host, has produced a self-referential book in which he's part of the narrative, making it a little like eavesdropping on a barroom conversation. It's the polar opposite of his first book, Hockey Card Stories, since these guys weren't around long enough to merit a card. There are players who spent a lifetime in the minor leagues and junior call-ups; tough guys summoned to pick a fight; those who faced injuries, and those who faced shots in net. All qualify as journeymen. Their post-hockey lives are essential to the tale; for every Don Cherry or Don Waddell who went on to make careers in hockey, there are those, such as Jack Stanfield, who became a television executive, or furrier Ron Loustel. A select few, such as Larry Kwong, the oldest player profiled, for his one shift appearance in March 1948, which made him the first Chinese-Canadian player in the NHL, deserve even more ink.