This series of 24 vignettes presents the essence of a ""beautiful, flowing, exciting game"" through thrilling or unusual moments in professional hockey history. As might be expected in a paean to a sport not for ""the fainthearted or the weak in spirit,"" the author's selection of episodes includes many an internecine brawl, several personal vendettas acted out on the ice, and even a city-wide riot sparked by a hockey match. But Olney is careful to balance hockey's violent side with instances of the bonds of respect that form between opposing players and of the mutual affection between spectator and player that may surface in the roar of the crowd and the answering wave of the iceman's stick. Olney writes in a quick, darting style which gives words somewhat the impact of the puck rushing towards the goal. Though each chapter opens, monotonously, with a generalization and moves on to an illustration, fans will find this an action-filled piece which makes good use of hockey's great names.