Viewed 1123 times
Kerry and Roy MacGregor
For all the greatness of Roy MacGregor, whether it’s in hockey writing, radio and TV commentary, newspaper or magazine features, or his nationalistic non-fiction passions, like Canoe Country: The Making of Canada, or Escape: In Search of the Natural Soul of Canada, I can personally attest that he has had a significant impact on my son with his Screech Owls Mystery Series.
There are 30 books in the series, and my 11-year-old son Quinn, has read them all, many of them more than once. He celebrated like he’d struck gold when he found the elusive The Screech Owls Scrapbook. When Quinn and I teamed on our self-published kids book, Duck with the Puck, Roy was one of the people we sent a copy to, with a note about how much his work meant to Quinn.
To Roy’s credit, he replied and encouraged Quinn to keep reading and writing. Quinn subsequently wrote out some plot ideas for future Screech Owls books, which he now says are “cringe-worthy.” But the point is that getting praise from one of your heroes can be pretty important in a young life.
A similar parental tie is there in the latest book from Roy and his daughter Kerry, The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink. The two also worked together on the final Screech Owls book.
It’s book one in the new Ice Chips Series, aimed at grade school readers, and they have a contract for three total; The Ice Chips and the Haunted Hurricane comes out in the fall of 2018.
The premise is quite fun. Members of small-town team stumble upon way to go back in time; when they time travel, they slowly get to know a major future hockey star when he was just a boy. The clues are there for a big-time hockey fan to guess out who it is early, but figuring it out isn’t the point.
Both Roy and Kerry MacGregor shared a little about what went into The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink
“Kerry wrote more than half. I expect the division of labour will usually be two-thirds Kerry one-third Roy,” explained Roy in an email. (Good parenting is teaching your kids how to do the chores! Kerry is one of Roy's four children with wife Ellen.)
For a real expert, though, I turned to Quinn Oliver, who submitted some questions for them, and posted an online book review as well:
QUINN: I noticed in the Ice Chips book that the characters were really defined, especially compared to individual Screech Owls books. What made you really want to flesh out the Ice Chips characters?
ROY: Kerry did more work on the characters than I did. The Owls “grew” into their character as the books went along. The Chips were more formed from the start.
QUINN: Was it fun working with your daughter / father?
KERRY: It was far more interesting than I’d expected, especially when it came to putting our characters into the story! A writer doesn’t have to be similar to a character in his or her book, but you often leave a bit of how you see the world behind in your writing. Because of that, two writers—even related ones—might see the same character differently. It was fun to see how different our ideas about our characters’ reactions could be! I think we learned a lot about each other!
ROY: Made me very proud. Very satisfying.
QUINN: Was it fun to work on?
KERRY: I loved working with the idea of time travel—I’m always a sucker for sci-fi. It was also really fun writing a fictional story around a person who was real (the famous hockey player the kids visit in the past). We wanted to write an exciting story, but we also wanted stay true to the history of this real-life hockey player. That challenge was pretty cool.
ROY: It was fun seeing how two writers could end up with one story.
QUINN: What was your inspiration for writing The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink?
KERRY: We co-wrote the final book in the Screech Owls series and enjoyed working together, so we thought we’d come up with a new series. When I was a kid, I met a lot of hockey players because my dad was covering hockey for the newspaper. I remember wondering how a kid like me could ever become a famous hockey player like them—about what happened in between. So, we thought we’d go back in time and find out!
ROY: I missed the Screech Owls, plain and simple. But 30 books in a series is too many. Good readers will have moved on.
The art in the Ice Chips book was by illustrator Kim Smith. She raved about working with the MacGregors. “It was fantastic working with them!” raved Smith, a Calgary native. “Sometimes, on other books, I don’t get a chance to connect with the author, but since this was a project that required a lot of expertise and historical correctness, Kerry and Roy were a great source of information for fleshing out the illustrations. The characters and story were so wonderfully written, they made it such a treat to illustrate. I could picture these characters in my head as living, breathing things.”
FIGHTING TO GET JOHN BROPHY’S STORY TOLD
Gregg Inkpen worked on two hockey documentaries through the years, and came away from a 2000 project musing about something bigger with legendary tough guy turned coach John Brophy.
“From reading the old news articles it occurred to me that Broph was a wild man in a wild league,” Inkpen said. “So after that brief on-camera interview I did with him for that 2000 documentary, I wrote him asking if he’d be into writing a book with me on his life. He agreed and in 2004 I drove to Virginia (he wasn’t coaching at that point) and spent a weekend interviewing him.”
Lots of research and secondary interviews followed in the subsequent years, until Inkpen went to sit down with “Broph” again in 2008, this time when the old coach was living back in Nova Scotia.
Most fans know the basics of Brophy’s career—Eastern Hockey League goon, successful if foul-mouthed coach in the minors before making the bigs, with a memorable stint behind the bench for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Inkpen’s goal is to tell the whole story of Brophy, who died in 2016. “Readers will see he was all about hockey. His pursuit of playing and coaching pretty much led to two divorces (he was divorced three times total) and they’ll find it’s not your typical bio of a coach,” said Inkpen. “At around 12 months of age the family suffered a house fire, destroying it, then his mother died when he was around three. At nine they had another house fire and the siblings were split up where he lived with his uncle for a while. His father was out west in Vancouver working the rails so he was raised by his older brother for the most part. The day before John’s first wedding his father died and John didn’t find out until after the ceremony because he was on the way home with his team on a bus and he couldn’t be reached.
In 1967 he crashed his car into a tree on Long Island (not too far from me) and his girlfriend died—she was the passenger. Then he had the car crash in 2000 where he almost died.”
So it’s a story of perseverance, too. “But he made it to the NHL as a coach but there were two and a half tumultuous years. Has issues with a couple of players, leading one to quit. But many players loved him.”
That stick-to-it nature defines Inkpen, who currently has the book in the hands of a couple of potential publishers; if he doesn’t get the okay from one of those companies, he’s prepared to self-publish. Maybe, in the end, that’s closer to Brophy, who was hardly “establishment.”
Viewed 1123 times
Exploring Seattle's rich hockey history
Posted May 13, 2019
The unappreciated Lionel Hitchman and George Orton
Posted April 29, 2019
Addicted to Hockey, in Any Format
Posted April 13, 2019
The Stanley Cup and Kate's hockey greatness
Posted April 01, 2019
Writing and illustrating about hockey for developing readers
Posted March 17, 2019
Johnston and Walter re-team with more Plays and Strategies
Posted March 03, 2019
More Orr and Rangers via self-published books
Posted February 18, 2019
The overachieving 1978-79 Rangers get their due
Posted February 06, 2019
Commito delivers a year's worth of hockey stories
Posted January 16, 2019
Ending the year with the bestselling Kirstie McLellan Day
Posted December 30, 2018
Feel Good Book of the Year
Posted December 16, 2018
New Oilers book will have fans gushing
Posted December 05, 2018
Legend of Johnny Bower lives on
Posted November 20, 2018
Baruchel puts his love of hockey onto the page
Posted November 06, 2018
Going Back to 1993 Again
Posted October 24, 2018
Down Goes Brown found time for a book
Posted October 09, 2018
Getting to know Bob Chrystal
Posted September 25, 2018
Five S's: Steven Sandor's Sports Stories showcased
Posted September 12, 2018
Let's hear from the moms
Posted August 29, 2018
Good as Goldham
Posted July 19, 2018
Keeping the WHA memory alive
Posted July 03, 2018
The Price is right
Posted June 19, 2018
Take off with the Flying Fathers
Posted June 06, 2018
Considering those general managers
Posted May 24, 2018
The Russian Five come alive in print and film
Posted May 11, 2018
The 'number' of Rangers books grows
Posted April 25, 2018
When it's not just a hockey book
Posted March 20, 2018
Posted March 08, 2018
Denis Gibbons, international man of hockey
Posted February 21, 2018
The ever-compelling tale of the 1948 RCAF Flyers
Posted February 07, 2018
From Manitoba to Latvia
Posted January 23, 2018
Listen up, it's a Hull of a story
Posted January 10, 2018
What a century/year it's been
Posted December 27, 2017
Won't Somebody Think of the Children
Posted December 12, 2017
A Hat Trick of Self-Published Gems
Posted November 30, 2017
Resurrecting the California Golden Seals
Posted November 13, 2017
Dryden Returns to Action
Posted November 01, 2017
Maruk's Highs and Lows
Posted October 19, 2017
Father Knows Best(seller?)
Posted October 03, 2017
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Posted September 21, 2017
The Cat and his Rangers
Posted September 04, 2017
Bien sûr, c'est bien plus que les Canadiens
Posted August 22, 2017
The Sound and the Fury in Hockey Audiobooks
Posted August 09, 2017
Zweig Busy, Marshall almost Ready and Denault on the Mend
Posted July 20, 2017
Stocking the Shelf
Posted July 09, 2017