Cold War: A Decade of Hockey's Greatest Rivalry, 1959-1969


216 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-00-200081-4
DDC 796.962'64'0971




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.


Given the political connotations of the term “cold war,” readers
might assume that the book’s focus involves the many hockey battles
that occurred between Canada and Russia. However, the cover
illustration, which portrays Jean Beliveau being checked into the boards
by Tim Horton while Red Kelly attempts to steal the puck, confirms that
Cold War’s contents deal with the intense Montreal Canadiens–Toronto
Maple Leafs rivalry that flourished during the last decade of the
“Original Six.” Only once between 1959 and 1969 was the Stanley Cup
not won by one of these two Canadian NHL teams.

Superb color photographs (mostly action shots) that were taken by the
Toronto Star’s award-winning photographer Harold Barkley, occupy many
of the book’s glossy large-format pages. The text is divided by
playing year. Each year begins with an overview of the Leafs’ and
Habs’ season, including details of the teams’ personnel changes.
This is followed by somewhat dry summaries of the Habs–Leafs games
played during both the regular and the post season. Each year (with the
exception of 1960–61, when Chicago won the Cup) concludes with the
team picture of the Stanley Cup champions. The captions accompanying the
photographs not only detail each illustration’s action but also
profile the player(s) shown in the photo or provide other bits of
interesting information. As well, sidebars offer trivia tidbits, and
color-highlighted portions of text feature quotes by the players and

This period of NHL hockey, which saw the Leafs and the Habs coached,
respectively, by the colorful Punch Imlach and Toe Blake, will interest
many fans. A fine gift book, Cold War should also be found in sports
history sections of public and academic libraries.


Leonetti, Mike., “Cold War: A Decade of Hockey's Greatest Rivalry, 1959-1969,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,