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"Write the book or you're fired!" Jody Anderson was told by her boss. We'll never know how serious he was, as she did write Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy: ...Well, Maybe Just a Little Bit and it hasn't stopped selling yet, and a complimentary colouring book was just released.
Backing up a bit, Anderson is a hockey mom—and grandmother—from the State of Hockey, Minnesota. She fell in love with the game, and, as her three kids got into it, she found herself committing to being 100% a hockey mom ... which, to play along with the many laughs in 2013's Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy, could mean that she should be committed.
Anderson would head to work, where she is involved in sales and in show management at AdventureKEEN, an independent travel and nature publisher, and would share stories from the rink, the games, the fun, the travel, the ridiculousness of it all.
On the phone from her home office, due to COVID-10, Anderson recalled how her boss came out of his office one day and said, "You know, I've listened to your stories for a few years now, and I think we should do a book."
No way, said Anderson. "I know what it takes to market it, I know what it takes to put it on the market, and I know how much time it takes. I like my job and if it doesn't sell, I still would like to keep my job!" He dropped it, and a little while later, I came into work and there was a contract on my desk, and he said, "You either write this book or you're fired." And I went, "What?!" He said, "I'm kidding, but I want you to think about this. I think there's a market out there for it, and I really think you should do it."
Given that the Minnesota Wild got involved, and hosted the book launch = "They opened up a suite, brought in a cash bar, and we sold books like crazy that night" - and that the NHL subsequently interviewed Anderson on its NHL Network three times, and allowed her to put its logo on the cover, Anderson’s boss looks like a genius.
At the core of it all is a light-hearted, loving look at the maternal maniacs watching their progeny play.
"There is something about hockey moms," she mused, "and I think it has to do with the sport as well. It's just so fast-moving and so competitive. Us hockey moms, we make fun of soccer moms—big deal, you run up and down the field, so what? It's just kind of our thing out here. I don't know what it is exactly, it's just a very, very strong bond."
The forced time at the rink is part of it. "You're there, and you sit with the hockey moms. When my kids were playing, the moms all sat together and the dads all sat together. It was never moms and dads combined. It was, "Nope, we want our own time. And we would sing and laugh in the crowd when the music would come on. ... We just had a good time."
Even today, years later, she is still in touch with many friends she made through hockey, and Anderson has made plenty more through her book and her popular, lively Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HockeyMomsArentCrazy/
"It blows my mind how many followers are on there," Anderson said, noting there are people from all over the world, and they are loyal and supportive.
Social media also played a big part in Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy, as there are short tidbits about their own hockey mom from noted players such as Mike Peluso, Carl Wetzel, Jeff Nielsen, Sean Toomey, Rico Fata, Natalie Darwitz, Winny Brodt Brown, and even Derek Plante talking about his mom, and her talking about her son.
Then there's Mike Eruzione, hero of the 1980 Olympics, and an American icon.
Initially, Anderson thought it would be all about the laughs, a joke book, but then reconsidered. "One night, I was doing some research, trying to get some different stories. I thought, "No, this book has got to have more. I want it more solid than that, I want it more interesting than that." As I was sitting there with a glass of wine in my hand, I happened to be on Twitter, and Mike Eruzione is on there, and I thought, "Oh, I would love a story about his mom!" So I tweeted him and he got right back to me and said, "I love this idea of a hockey mom book, contact me at Boston University."
Anderson called and left a message ... and waited.
"I was in my Jeep, driving, and the phone rings, and I looked down, didn't recognize the number, and didn't pick it up. And it rang and rang and rang and rang, and I finally picked it up, and I said, Hello," kind of annoyed. On the other end, "Is this Jody?" "Yes it is, how can I help you?" "Jody, it's Mike Eruzione here. Instant personality change."
Since she was driving - and hadn't really prepared any questions - they arranged to talk. Eruzione stressed that he wanted to do the interview, and not to forget to call him. "As I hung up with him, I thought, "I'm going to forget that Mike Eruzione called me. Yeah. That's just not going to happen."
Eruzione's interview was so good (and his mother so decidedly not a stereotypical hockey mom) that a decision was made to run it almost in its entirety. It's a good conclusion to a book that has insight and laughs, that is purposefully inclusive and recognizes that girls and boys - and moms and dads - can love it equally.
Anderson is proud that Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy stands out, and not just because there are only a couple of other books on hockey moms. "There's not another book out there like this, at all," she said. "I just had so many stories. It took eight months to put together."
Her daughter, Katie, wrote the foreword, and her now-grown kids shared some stories, and so did her many hockey mom friends. "It just came flowing."
The illustrator, Scott Rolfs, was the third artist that the publisher tried. Anderson knew that the images—especially since some now are reproduced in Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy: The Coloring Book (released in April 2020)—had to be accurate and representative of hockey's action. "In some work, you could tell they didn't know the game, they didn't know the sport ... one had figure skates on a player," chuckled Anderson.
In between the initial book and the coloring book was the less successful The Hockey Journal: Capture Your Hockey Memories, from the fall of 2014. "My disappointment in the way that book turned out is I wanted a lay-flat binding on it so that when you're in the arena and you"re using this book, you wouldn't have to break the binding to write in it. ... It did okay. Some of the high schools were picking it up and handing it out to the parents, saying, "Look, you guys can keep some stats for me. ... but it didn't sell nearly as well as the hockey mom book."
So, who is buying Hockey Moms Aren't Crazy?
"Everybody's picking this up, even players are picking it up. I had one mom contact me and said, "My son loves this book because he can make fun of me," laughed Anderson. "The hockey world is very embracing."
Jody Anderson sells books at a Minnesota Wild game
As many of you know, I have written about professional wrestling for many years too. The website I have run since 1997 was recently moved to SlamWrestling.net, and we're no longer a part of the bigger Postmedia world. If you are a wrestling fan or know one, please check it out, and here's my goodbye/hello column: Mat Matters: Slam! Wrestling Is Done; Long Live Slamwrestling.Net!
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