Hockey, the Illustrated History: An Official Publication of the National Hockey League


192 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-385-23329-9





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


Those from 9 to 99 who prefer their hockey history to come in a light pictorial form rather than in weighty words will find Diamond’s work to be to their liking. Only the first quarter of the book, entitled “The Matchless Giants,” contains more text than illustrations, but Charles Wilkins’ writing flows very smoothly as he describes professional hockey’s beginnings and the various facets of the NHL’s continuing growth to its current 21-team status. The remainder of the book is divided into four sections of approximately equal length, each of which covers the highlights of a significant period in the NHL’s evolution: “Origins” looks at the years up to 1926; “Establishment Years” illustrates the two decades between 1927 and 1946; “The Big Six” covers the next twenty years; and “Expansion” deals with the time between 1968 and the present. In addition to the expected action photos and team portraits, the illustrations also include reproductions of program covers, a player’s contract, pages from newspapers, paper match covers, and hockey cards. Though the majority of the illustrations are black and white, there are some 26 pages of full-color photographs. To avoid the bland captions that too frequently accompany photos in works of this type, some of the illustrations were shown to a panel of nine journalists, broadcasters, hockey historians, and former players who were invited to comment on them. The lively personal remarks of such people as Jean Beliveau, Ken Dryden, Gordie Howe, and Danny Gallivan add a refreshingly different quality to the book.


Diamond, Dan, and Charles Wilkins, “Hockey, the Illustrated History: An Official Publication of the National Hockey League,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,