9 sports books to ring out 2015 and ring in 2016

Variety is the spice of sports reading. Here are excerpts from a diverse new crop of sports books – covering everything from Obama's grasp of basketball to the greats of the NHL.

8. ‘Hockey Night Fever: Mullets, Mayhem and the Game’s Coming of Age in the 1970s,’ by Stephen Cole

Hockey’s small-world feel came to an abrupt end in the 1960s and 1970s, when expansion transformed the six-team National Hockey League, a rival World Hockey Association was created, and games between Team Canada all-stars and Russian squads brought attention to the growing globalization of the sport. In “Hockey Night Fever,” author Stephen Cole views the seeds of today’s modern game, which he considers faster, smarter and more competitive, to have been planted during the wild, formative decade of the ‘70s when Philadelphia Flyers (a.k.a. The Broad Street Bullies) came into their brawling own. As they did, though, they shared the spotlight with two Old Guard clubs – the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. This fortunes of this trio of championship franchises help to shape the narrative.

Here’s an excerpt from Hockey Night Fever:

“Flyers rookie Kevin McCarthy wondered why Freddy Shero didn’t seem to like him. Two months into the season and Coach still hadn’t said boo. Ah, he’s just weird, don’t worry, you’ll love him, teammates advised. And then at practice one day, McCarthy looked up and found Shero skating beside him. ‘What section of Winnipeg you from?’ the coach wanted to know.

“ ‘ Uh, St. James.’

“ ‘Any problems with the sewers?’

“ ‘As a matter of fact, yeah.’

“ ‘Not surprised; I helped on the sewers when I worked for the city, eh? Really sloppy work … cut corners. We knew they’d never last.’ With that, Shero skated away, chuckling. 

“Gone like a puff of breath disappearing on a window.”

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