How is hockey changing, and why? Legendary coach Dave King has the answers and you can read them all in his newest book.
Loose Pucks and Ice Bags: How and why the game is changing, a paperback released in 2021, is the second book written by King, the first North American coach to coach in Russia, who also penned King of Russia – a year in the Russian Super League in 2008.
The 72-year-old author from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, who has been coaching professionally since 1977, boasts a hockey resume like few others. He coached Canada’s National Junior Team to a gold medal in 1982, Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team to a silver medal in 1992, and a bronze medal in 2018. King also won a CIS Championship in 1982 with the University of Saskatchewan, he’s led three Spengler Cup gold medal winning teams, and three IIHF World Hockey Championship silver medal finishes.
All that without even mentioning King’s 10 years of NHL coaching experience, Order of Canada induction in 1992, Order of Hockey in Canada induction in 2012, Olympic Hall of Fame induction in 1995 and IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 2001.
When coach King talks, you listen. Or in this case, when King writes, you read.
Don’t just take our word for it. New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz couldn’t put King’s latest book down.
“It’s an insightful look into the game’s evolution from one of hockey’s most progressive minds,” reviewed Trotz. “King’s historical approach illustrates how the early years of North American hockey were influenced by International tactics to become the game we played today. His colourful anecdotes, years of wisdom and incredible grasp on present day coaching tactics make this a must read for coaches, players and fans.”
Loose Pucks and Ice Bags: How and why the game is changing, is 38 chapters about how the game has evolved over the years and is written in a style that allows parents, coaches, athletes and hockey fans to gain a greater understanding of the game.
“Right away, the title seems to indicate “old school” but not so!” jokes King in the book’s introduction. “All the tactics in the game depend on whether you have the puck, don’t have the puck or are transitioning one to the other. Getting to available loose pucks is a cumulative stat in every game that makes a significant difference. This stat transcends time!”
King’s wealth of hockey knowledge seems to transcend time as well.
King’s time coaching in the NHL began with the Calgary Flames in 1992-93. He was an assistant with the Montreal Canadiens after that, before taking over head coaching duties with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Following four seasons in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany, and one in Russia with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, King was back in the NHL as an assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes, where he coached under current Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett.
“I first met Dave King in the spring of 1983,” explained Tippett. “Little did I know at the time, that meeting would be the gateway to four decades of “hockey knowledge” and “hockey life perspective” from one of the smartest, most experienced coaches to ever coach the game. I have played for Dave, played and coached against him and was incredibly grateful to coach with him for three years in Arizona. To this day, I have not met a smarter hockey coach, or a better mentor for coaches worldwide. Hockey has evolved over those four decades and Dave has been at the forefront of the evolution!”
For anyone looking to expand their understanding of hockey, where the game is headed and why, Loose Pucks and Ice Bags: How and why the game is changing is for you. King wrote it to help you learn, strive and improve, and the stories and lessons he shares will do just that.
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