Book Review: The McDavid Effect: Connor McDavid and the New Hope for Hockey

Having followed the hockey career of Edmonton Oilers prodigy Connor McDavid since his entrance into the Ontario Hockey League several years ago, I was certainly interested in picking up the book “The McDavid Effect: Connor McDavid and the New Hope for Hockey.”

Since my library didn’t own a copy, I put in an interlibrary loan request, and the book arrived shortly after from the library at St. Lawrence University. The really interesting thing about this book is how new it is; it was released in October 2016, making it less than a year old. It speaks on a lot of history, but also includes a lot of relevant, very recent information. I don’t know that I’ve ever read such an up-to-date book.

Although the title of this book starts with “The McDavid Effect,” it is not just about Connor McDavid. Instead, it is about McDavid and his path through junior hockey and into the NHL, even through his rookie season, yes; but it is also about the Edmonton Oilers franchise, then and now. It is a captivating story that discusses the history of the Oilers franchise, their glory years, their downfall, and now, the arrival of McDavid and the new hope that it has brought to the city & franchise.

Alongside the building of a much-needed new arena, McDavid’s arrival in Edmonton brings hope to a city and franchise that needs it more than ever. Any NHL fan has seen the Oilers win the draft lottery year after year, but with no solid results. This year, the Oilers made it to the playoffs and some thought they might go all the way to the Stanley Cup. As they say — “There’s always next year.”

I thought this book did a good job of meshing the stories of Edmonton (the city), the Oilers (the historic franchise) and the “new” Oilers with McDavid, along with intertwining stories of McDavid’s growing up and his path to the NHL. Again, having watched him play since he was 15 in Erie, I’ve got an interest in the subject, and that undoubtedly made it a more interesting read for me. But I think any NHL fan, any hockey fan, and certainly any Oilers fan, would enjoy this book.

The flow of this book was a little odd, in my opinion. The author went back and forth between stories about the Oilers of the past, including the era of Gretzy and Messier and Stanley Cup championships, to stories about McDavid (in juniors, growing up, and in the NHL), to stories about the building of the Oilers’ new rink, to stories highlighting fans, restaurant owners, and the like. It was a little all over the place at times and, I won’t lie, that made it harder to read.

I didn’t want to make the whole review about this, but I feel like I need to add this piece. While reading this book, I noticed a good number of errors that (realistically) should’ve been caught during the editing process before publishing. It really disrupts my reading flow when that happens & makes it slightly less enjoyable! Some of the mistakes in this book included the naming of Matt Coulson (should be Moulson), Ilya Byrzgalov (should be Bryzgalov), Cary Price (instead of Carey) and EPSN (obviously, ESPN.)

At any rate, this is a solid read if you can get your hands on a copy. I’m by no means an Oilers fan, but this book captivated me and held my attention. As a Sabres fan, I can only feel so much for the Oilers, since Buffalo’s definitely had its fair share of struggles and this city doesn’t have any historic Stanley Cups to look back fondly on. Even so, this was a great book about the arrival of McDavid, the “next big thing” into the NHL and what it all means for the future of the league, the Oilers, and the city of Edmonton.

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