The outdoor ice may have melted but the game is far from gone. It’s mid-summer and hockey hasn’t gone to the beach – not in the minds of fans or in the mentality of the teams as they deal for better results on the ice in the coming season. And especially not for players signing new contracts that might involve moving to another country if you’re PK Subban or Shea Weber.
Hockey’s on our mind too. That’s what our conversation is about at the summer markets where we meet fans young and old and hear their stories of how close their team came to winning the Stanley Cup this year … or not!
In June we talked NHL hockey in Regina at Bazaart on the lawns of the wonderful MacKenzie Art Gallery. ( And of course we talked football in the land of Rider Nation. I was happy to tell fans our fourth Rider book, The ALWAYS Team Home Sweet Home will be out soon!) Fans bought books for their kids and their neighbour’s kids and for relatives and friends in places as far from home as Korea and Vietnam. Who says team loyalty doesn’t travel? We sold books for Blackhawks and Rider fans in Chicago! It warms my heart on a warm summer day to envision The HOME Team and The ALWAYS Team books taking flights to fans around the world.
Late June it was the West Edmonton Mall on a Saturday afternoon where throngs of kids were celebrating the end of the school year in the mall’s pool or on the indoor skating rink. And some kids will be reading while school’s out too, including Noah whose parents bought him a story about his favourite NHL team.
Noah may be too little to do more than look at the illustrations today but soon, maybe just in time for their next Stanley Cup victory, he’ll be reading The HOME Team Edmonton Oilers to his Mom and Dad.
Yukon, Northwest Territories, just like the boy in our stories, I seized the opportunity when it was presented! A maybe once in a lifetime visit to Canada’s north. And now, afanforlife’s books will find fans in the NWT through the city’s great local book store, too.
We left summer in city for the Canmore Mountain Market, nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where the wind blows, (hold onto your tent!) the sun shines and it rains, all in a few hours. In a tourist destination like this folks strolling by our little table of books under the red tent have come from around the world. A young teacher who played hockey in Europe buys books for his Grade 1 class. How nice is that?
If it’s July, it’s time for the rustic Millarville Market and our first time here in the beautiful foothills but we’ll be back on many Saturdays throughout the summer and fall. Among the jewelry artisans, the food vendors, the artists, here we are: It’s great fun talking hockey in this venue too! Although Alberta has two NHL teams, we find plenty of new homes for books of every team – the Rangers, the Penguins, the Canadiens, the Predators, the Canucks….etc! And half a dozen of those books are in the hands of two families from Texas. They’ll make their way across the border in the suitcases of young fans. Maybe they’ll be read on the plane or in the car on the long trip home. These are the memories I make, too. Hockey in the summer, our books about your team, among the market stalls of honey and organic vegetables and bison jerky.
Summertime is the perfect time to share our passion for the game, to imagine how exciting the new season will be….if only the team makes the right decisions, signs the right players this time …if only.
In the summer, the conversation goes, the Stanley Cup 2017 could be anybody’s; could be – YOUR home team!