was featured on
NH Chronicle January 28, 2009.
Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie
By Bruce Valley
Reviews of SEAHAWK
I really liked this book. Valley writes with a clarity that puts you right on the ice, temperatures close to zero, picking up the shovel to clear the ice for the next day's games. Duffbert's Blog -- Read More!
May 1, 2009 Review, Seacoast Online
Rye author tells 'Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie' -- Former Navy test pilot Bruce Valley is celebrating the release of his latest book, Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie, the long-awaited, firsthand recollection of his experience as an amateur hockey goaltender for the Rye Seahawks. Read More . . .
Praise from former Boston Bruins:
KEN LINSEMAN, BOSTON BRUINS: Seahawk is a wonderfully entertaining look at vintage amateur hockey in post-WWII New England. Bruce Valley's inside look at the challenges of both goaltending and the aging process in sports holds nothing back. Living as I do on the New Hampshire seacoast and skating on its ponds with my children and surfing buddies, this book brings home to me how the important things in life do not change -- and reminds me how very cool life must have been in the long-ago era Seahawk describes.
RICK MIDDLETON, BOSTON BRUINS: "Bruce Valley's Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie is a look deep within the living, beating heart of hockey. Written with a sense of authenticity and -- rare in hockey circles -- a genuinely intimate portrait of the game, Seahawk takes me way back, long before the NHL and Boston Bruins, to my early boyhood playing for fun on pond ice. Seahawk will evoke those memories in all its readers. Don't miss this terrific hockey book!"
TERRY O'REILLY, BOSTON BRUINS: "Seahawk is a great hockey story, reminding us of how competitively the amateur game was played in New England, decades before some of us were privileged to play in the NHL. And Bruce Valley is obviously a goalie with a great heart. He may be well into his sixties but I'd play on a team with him anytime."
The New Hampshire, student newspaper of the University of New Hampshire, 4/10/09 by Cameron Kittle:
Like hockey? Interested in local sports history? Any yes to either of those, and I'd recommend Bruce Valley's new book, "Seahawk: Confessions of a Hockey Goalie." Read more.
Midwest Book Review, Feb 6, 2009
"Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie is the personal memoir of a young man who was part of a championship New England town hockey team composed of World War II veterans during the late 1950s. Seahawk continues to relate the author's trials, travails, joys and foibles as he continued his passion for amateur hockey goaltending into the later years of life. "Why, when you can hop in your car and drive a civilized half hour to an indoor rink, dress out in cozy warmth, and play hockey in predictable weather conditions on perfect ice, would we shovel and build a rink, risking frost bite and possible immersion to play outdoors? Fair question. Answer: Because it's there. Because it's free. Because it's ours." A passionate testimony to the enduring joy of sports, highly recommended especially for anyone who loves to play hockey."
SeacoastOnline.com 2/4/09 by Tammi Truax:
"Growing up in Rye, he learned to skate at the age of 3, on the pond behind the Grey Gull apartment building where he lived. He would watch the boys and men out on the frozen pond from his window several stories above, and can't remember a time when he wasn't a Seahawk wannabe... Read more.
From Kirkus Discoveries:
"Valley reflects on the zeal, pride and love his amateur team from Rye, N.H., brought to hockey through the 1940s and ’50s.
"The author uses a considerable measure of polish, not unlike the surface of a pond after a long freeze, in this memoir of his hockey-playing years, principally for the Seahawk team from his native New England. From Thanksgiving until the ice rotted in April, his town was obsessed with hockey. World War II veterans started a club (perhaps, Valley suggests, not just to play but to help bevel some of the harsher experiences of war, in a game where warlike tendencies are kept in check) that rose to prominence through the B ranks.
"The author turns a bright light on the thrill of the game, its mesmerizing flow of speed, skill and color, but finds something deep within the Seahawks. The team members organized everything independently—the outdoor rink, uniforms and money needed to sustain a club—when times were still economically hard. They 'gave everyone a source of community entertainment and, more importantly, something to identify with, get behind and make everybody proud.' Valley also captures some quality on-ice action, as he joined the Seahawks between the goal’s pipes when he was 14 years old. It’s good, cringing fun to read of the poor goalie’s circumstances—the equipment was primitive, and he wore no mask. Still, the author shrugs off one encounter that left a number of his teeth on the ice and 80 stitches in and around his mouth. He provides choice nuggets of club history—for their first game, since no local sport shop stocked the hockey variety, “each player was wearing an extra-large, bright pink ladies garter belt under his hockey pants.” No one will begrudge him if he goes on a bit about his coming retirement from the game and struggles to determine when his exit is graceful rather than premature.
"A neat slice of local color, regional history and the joy of amateur sport."
Joe Pelletier of HockeyBookReviews wrote:
I have a confession to make.
When former US Navy pilot Bruce Valley told me about his personal hockey memories, I was not expecting a whole lot. His book reminisces about his lifelong love affair with the game of hockey, but more specifically his youth playing with the local team in small town New Hampshire.
Who is going to want to read that, was my silent question. The answer turns the answer is every real hockey fan and then some.
The book is called Seahawk: Confessions Of An Old Hockey Goalie. Remember that name because it is an early 2009 release, but it will get a lot of attention in hockey circles, not to mention serious consideration for the 2009 HockeyBookReviews.com Hockey Book Of The Year Award.
Upon receipt of the book I was shocked to see the ringing endorsements on the book's back cover and opening page. Dave Bidini, author of Tropic of Hockey and The Best Game You Can Name, not to mention one of few true literary geniuses in the world of sports literature, absolutely raves about this book.
"With Seahawk, the author rescues a great and moving hockey story from oblivion and, in the process, creates a world where sport and the lives of players are explored in exquisite detail with assured, writerly poise."
But Bidini takes his praise to a much higher level when he compares Mr. Valley's efforts to that of two legends of the hockey book world.
"A fine literary descendant of Jack Falla's "Home Ice" and Peter Gzowski's "The Game of Our Lives." Like any good hockey book, it teaches us more about the world than hockey itself."
Wow. With an endorsement like that, I had to dive into the book right away.
The book is a compelling and intimate read about hockey and life. Valley is a life long goalie, still basking in glow of his greatest hockey moment, even though that came back in the 1950s.
Valley was a teenage goalie for the home town Rye Seahawks, a team made legendary, at least locally, by grizzled veterans of the second World War. Valley grew up dreaming of playing for the Seahawks. They were his NHL, his Boston Bruins.
Valley is amazing at recapturing his youthful love of hockey and of the Seahawks. He is a gifted writer, beautifully sharing his insights in a most enjoyable read. Though he is writing this book in reflection, he speaks with great exuberance that it is as if his youthful innocence never left him.
But of course it has. He is now in his 60s. He flew planes in the US Navy for years before starting his own aerospace company. He had a family. He explored his love of jazz and poetry. Yet he continued to play hockey. Hockey keeps him young. Hockey keeps him alive.
In reading his passionate words, we the reader rediscover our own childhood lust for hockey. It is a great experience. Depending on how old the reader is, we can all relate as Valley moves on from his youth through his life. We all take different journeys, but hockey is always with us.
An obviously sentimental and reflective man, a reader will quickly realize that Seahawk is not so much a history of a hockey team in New Hampshire, but a tribute to the game in its purest form, a thank you to the World War II veterans, and a revealing coming-to-grips account of getting older.
In fact, the aging theme reminded me very much of another New Englander, the late Jack Falla, who wrote about hockey and aging in Open Ice: Reflections and Confessions of a Hockey Lifer, the HockeyBookReviews.com Hockey Book Of The Year in 2008. Both have similar stories about outdoor rinks and, more importantly, life.
What was it that Dave Bidini said again?
"Like any good hockey book, it teaches us more about the world than hockey itself."
Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie is a very good hockey book.
“With Seahawk, the author rescues a great and moving hockey story from oblivion and, in the process, creates a world where sport and the lives of players are explored in exquisite detail with assured, writerly poise. A fine literary descendant of Jack Falla’s “Home Ice” and Peter Gzowski’s “The Game of Our Lives.” Like any good hockey book, it teaches us more about the world than hockey itself.” —Dave Bidini, Author of Tropic of Hockey and The Best Game You Can Name
“A compellingly intimate sports book that will hopefully become a movie, Seahawk has the breadth, depth, and power to be read for generations.” —Tom Clarie, author of two parapsychology research handbooks, the award-winning Explorers educational game, and a forthcoming Egyptian history titled A Lighthouse for Alexandria.
“Seahawk is the true history of a small New Hampshire over-achieving town hockey team. We played the toughest big city teams in New England in the late 1940s and 1950s. And I was there from beginning to end.” —John “Jack” Hayes, Jr., Rye Seahawk 1946–1960
“This deeply moving and beautifully written memoir provides an authentic, warts-and-all look at New England amateur “town team” hockey in the years after WWII as seen through a young boy’s eyes. Filled with insight, passion and honesty, Seahawk also traces one goaltender’s amazing half century in net, and captures the three classic themes: man against man, man against nature, and man against himself. An absolute “must read” for avid hockey fans everywhere.” —Rosemary Clarie, author of Just Rye Harbor.
“Bruce Valley describes hockey’s thrills and he captures the gritty intimacy of small town sports. A terrific read for sports enthusiasts, sports historians and those fans who have always wondered what goes on behind the goalkeeper’s mask.”
—Steve Clarkson, author of Patriot’s Reward
Amazon.com Readers' comments
Great Book for Old Hockey buffs, January 29, 2009
By I. Mindel (USA):
I originally bought and read this book on a whim a few months ago. The book does a great job capturing the rough and tumble world of small town New England Ice Hockey in the 1950's and 60's. It chronicles the author's experience playing goalie on the home town team representing Rye, New Hampshire in the New England league. The team skated mostly on out-door rinks constructed each Winter. It is a must read for any old time "pond -skaters" and Hockey buffs who participated in this type of Ice Hockey .....or even anyone who just wishes they had. The Author, Bruce Valley, now well past 60, still plays Ice Hockey occasionally with a "senior" (over 50) Ice Hockey Group, and shortly after reading the book I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time, and actually played with him in a pick-up game. Our team won and he actually made a few saves.........once again proving the old adage that "even a blind squirrel finds a few acorns"
Hockey, January 29, 2009
By C. Marr:
Seahawk offers a candid personal account of of Mr. Valley's lifetime relationship with hockey. Ironically, behind the robust protective gear a goalie wears, the reader discovers this veteran goalie to write with a surprising gentleness and candor -- tenderized, if you will, by a brutal sport. In moments poetic, he explores the bonding between community and ice, and reveals hockey as a personal touchstone through the decades. Great read with some interesting historic notes and ephemea included! Mr. Valley also published a beautiful poetry book about Rye NH, back in the 1970s. Obviously he's proud of his hometown!
A great look at amateur hockey's golden years, January 29, 2009
By Maurice G. Cataford (Rye, NH USA):
Bruce Valley has produced a rare lookback at amateur hockey in the period after WWll when the love of the game was the sole motivation for the hard work required to field a team and provide the the facilities to compete. The effort to build rinks on local ponds;plow the snow, flood the ice and build nets for goalies in freezing weather usually after a hard day at work was rewarded by the thrill of fierce competion with a good share of wins. An excellent read and nostalgia at its best.