Last Shift for Jack Falla
By stern on Sep 16, 2008
An amazingly happy thing happened after I wrote that blog entry in April: Jack Falla commented on it. Whether he discovered it through vanity Googling or because his agent found and forwarded the link, it was the same electric jolt to me. In the comment, Falla tipped a book that would be published in the early fall (now), and an idea for another novel.
I'm looking my pristine copy of Open Ice, the sequel to Home Ice, with the amazingly sad realization that this will be Falla's last book. Falla died Sunday morning at the age of 62. The hockey world has lost a voice of the people, not someone interested in ratings or controvery but a simple explanation of why we find a simple game fascinating. In Open Ice, Falla conveys how a chance mention of Montreal great Jean Beliveau in his first encounter with his (future) wife immediately cemented the relationship; having met Beliveau once, for 3 minutes, I could immediately relate to the backstory. That's sports writing ascended to a hockey cathedral in its own right, to borrow another phrase of his.
I'm hitting control-Z on the other two books in progress now, and picking up Open Ice tonight, sure that Falla's last shift as a writer was as spirited, fun, and memorable as his others. That's the way the game should be played.
[cross-posted to my hockey blog]