Go on the road with the best hockey players not in the NHL
What is life really like in North American hockey’s top minor league? As told by dozens of the players, coaches, broadcasters, personnel, and owners who work a grinding schedule every winter, Chasing the Dream goes behind the scenes with seven AHL teams. Find out how players’ dreams of lacing up their skates in the NHL motivate them through long bus rides and games where they’re constantly gunning for a precious spot in the majors.
From young prospects to veterans whose own hopes have faded, hear from AHL players on why today’s minor league is no longer like Slap Shot, what playing three games in under 48 hours can do to a player, and why fighting — once a staple of the minors — is on the decline. Learn about the game from coaches, alumni, and broadcasters, as well as AHL president Dave Andrews, who reveals how the AHL is becoming an even more important tool for NHL teams in the salary-cap era.
Load your gear on the bus and take a tour around the many venues, personalities, pranks, and memories of the once-small AHL — an organization that now crosses the continent and is big business for players and owners.
Veteran sportswriter Starkey (Red Rising) offers readers a view into life in the American Hockey League (AHL), hockey's foremost minor league, where players are a "heartbeat or a sprained ankle away from the NHL." After spending eight months with seven different teams during the 2014 2015 season (with an update to add the AHL's California shift for '15 '16), Starkey compiled a dizzying collection of interviews and glimpses into the sport's realities, including franchise financials and how affiliations with NHL teams work. "If there's one constant in the American Hockey League, it's change," Starkey writes, unintentionally pointing to the book's weakness. The players, coaches, and owners he interviewed have been involved in the league in recent years, so the book is relevant now, but it lacks a historical perspective. Even in the chapter on the league's championship, the Calder Cup, which dates to 1936, Starkey stays firmly planted in the 21st century. Nevertheless, there's much to be gleaned about life in the minors here, including travel woes and the psychological battles for players who are close to and yet so far from their NHL dreams. Readers will come away with great respect for those who have recently called the AHL home.