A Boy at the Leafs' Camp
Gwen Zilm was Technical Services Librarian, Okanagan College, Kelowna, British Columbia.
Scott Young, the author, writes of what he knows well — hockey. He has written two other young people’s novels, Boy on Defence and Scrubs on Skates, as well as a biography of Punch Imlach called Hockey is a Battle. The title of the latter pretty well sums up the theme of this novel, which was published originally in 1963.
Chapter one sets the scene. We have the underdog, Bill Spunska, the son of Polish immigrant parents, far from home at the Maple Leafs training camp. He meets with immediate hostility from Benny Moore, a well-known hockey player with a “bad guy” reputation. From page one, the novel has a combative tone. There is lots of tension here to propel young readers, but little in the way of character development or story. Romance, hostility, and, predictably, a serious injury provide excitement throughout this story.