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The Penalty Box: Emptying the summer inbox

by Shawn P. Roarke

With this being the first edition of CTN this season, the mailbag material is understandably non-existent. As a result, CTN has gone back through the in box to tie up some loose ends from the summer and give some face time to some loyal e-mailers.

As CTN said in its return, the Penalty Box is the reader’s forum to discuss the game. CTN readers will make this feature what it becomes this season, although it is CTN’s hope that the Penalty Box becomes a forum for passionate, educated discussion on the topics brought up in CTN, as well as the greater themes that are foundations of the sport for which we all care passionately.

CTN looks forward to hearing from its readers throughout the season. Send all correspondence – be it a question, a complaint, a correction or a compliment -- to CTN will endeavor to personally answer each letter, depending on the volume, and will include the best posts in the following week’s Penalty Box.

Now, it’s on to the best of the summertime letters.


I wrote you a year ago after you had posted your 82 reasons for loving hockey and I read them all the time! I love your stuff. You are very bright and insightful. Well, here we go again and I am at work while the Avs are skating just one short mile from my office. This is the first year I have not been able to see the opening morning of camp and I am jones-ing bad. This career, and making money thing, really bites sometimes. One short mile, a 20-minute walk, a six-minute drive, including red lights, and I am here in a chair writing a guy about this passion for hockey. At least I have this email to get my fix. I am going to take my two little ones to practice tomorrow morning. My Maxwell is 4 and I am hoping to get him on skates this winter. Any advice on that one? I have a great tidbit with this new career. My office is in the same building as Altitude Sports Network and my boss says he sees Avalanche players, announcers, former players here all the time. That would be cool. I am 44 and totally want to meet these guys. I’m not a stalker, but that would be cool. Anyway, have a great season and I hope you get all you want in terms of access and great stories!
Scott in Denver

Scott, your parents obviously taught you well. Flattery will get you everywhere – including into the lead spot of the inaugural edition of the 2007-08 Penalty Box. I hope the start of the season and Colorado’s entertaining play has addressed your jones. It should be a fun season in the Mile High City. As for Maxwell, get him out on the ice, let him fall down so he knows it doesn’t hurt – that much – and it is nothing to be afraid of. Use a chair or a bench – or whatever is handy – for him to lean on as he gets used to the stride. Most importantly, make sure you laugh, smile, clap and have fun. It is a memory that Maxwell will hopefully carry on into adulthood and pass on to his children and a memory you will carry for the rest of what I hope is a long and prosperous life – especially after Maxwell becomes a first round draft choice in 2022. By the way, this year’s 82 reason story appeared as part of the season-preview package back in September. You can find it here.


Hi, Mr. Roarke
I just want to thank you for the interview with Christoph Schubert (in the final edition of CTN last year). We don't get much to read here in German newspapers about the NHL and our players there, so it's great to read something on your page. I like your blog more and more.
David Grob

David, glad I could be of service. I thought Christoph Schubert had a strong playoff last year and he is an interesting story, for sure. It looks like he is going back to his natural position of defenseman for this season. It will be interesting to see how that turns out. I’m sorry to hear about the dearth of NHL coverage in Germany. Fortunately, has all the information you can possibly need. Our “Across the Pond” feature – a weekly look at European hockey penned by Bill Meltzer – is an invaluable resource that is as entertaining as it is informative. Keep reading all of the content and you will never go lacking on information again. Oh yeah, and danke schoen for the compliment.


So, I went to the bookstore today in the hope of purchasing some books about hockey in order to quench my thirst in our admittedly short off-season. I found “The Game” (which I haven't started yet, but is apparently the Holy Grail of hockey literature) and a bunch of books about the rules (which I already know, thank you) and conditioning for playing (i wish). Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

Sydney, sorry I took so long to get back to you. I hope that you weren’t just looking for some summer hockey reading because I have a List of books for you that will keep you happy year-round. The Game is a great place to start. It is the best hockey book I have read. But, there are many others. There’s a book called Zamboni Rodeo, which is a classic take on life in the low minor leagues and a hilarious read to boot. Speaking of keeping me laughing, Ed Willes’ recent book on the old World Hockey Association, The Rebel League had me laughing out loud throughout my morning commute this summer. Phil Esposito’s autobiography, Thunder and Lightning is also a quality read. Wayne Coffey’s take on the 1980 USA Olympic team, The Boys of Winter, is a must-read about the seminal moment in international hockey history. That’s just a few to keep you busy. I’m sure CTN readers have scores of others that they would be willing to share. Oh, by the way, for those out there with kids, I have two book suggestions for the little ones, No. 4, Bobby Orr and Z is for Zamboni are brilliant. Each is a staple in my son’s night-night story rotation.

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