Last Shift for Jack Falla

The night after the Devils played the last game of their 2007-2008 season, I ordered the pile of sports books that had collected on my nightstand and began devoting former hockey-watching hours to reading. I had picked up Jack Falla's Home Ice based on a blurb for it in some other hockey-related reading, and Saved came as an amazon.com recommendation. Read them in that order, saw a bit of an autobiographical cameo in the fictional Saved (I don't think you can write a purely fictional hockey novel), and blogged about how much I enjoyed them. Falla's writing made me forget the bad parts of last year's Devils campaign and had me wishing for cold weather and clean sheets of ice on which to experience the good parts all over again, one year later.

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]

Comments:

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.
About

Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today