In your life experiences, how many times have you encountered the time hog, attention hog, or just plain hog?
In hockey, that person is the puck hog; the one skater who sees their role as star, scorer, winner.
How many times have your sons or daughters in pee-wee, mite or junior teams just wanted to stop playing their game stand at the boards or sit on the bench as their own personal puck hog has skated up and down the ice with nary a thought to passing the puck?
Or maybe even your own rec league game has its version of the puck hog.
Well, I know have seen it but Christie Casciano has taken the reaction to the level of writing about her puck hog experiences.
In The Puck Hog, Casciano takes the reader to the ice arena with her cast of characters including the book’s lead, Sophia, and the dreaded puck hog, Eddie!!
The author, Christie Casciano
Casciano has created a series of The Puck Hog (including volume 2) as a means to teach life lessons. As she says in the book’s preamble and back cover, Sophia (her daughter) and her team face challenges from opposing teams and from within their own side.
Eddie is the classic puck hog scoring half of the team’s goals in a season but never adds to the scoresheet with an assist. NEVER! as his teammates discover.
The Puck Hog (and its sequel) is a great platform for subtle messages and life lessons for the aspiring hockey player in your family. The first of the two-book series follows Sophia and her team through a season as it tries to resolve the conflict between the players and their puck hog.
There is that first glimmer of hope as the first book closes when Eddie acknowledges that “perfect pass” from Sophia for the championship-winning goal. But there is a sense that the puck hog has not learned the life lesson. That’s for Volume 2 of The Puck Hog.
The second book in the series has Sophia, her teammates and their puck hog graduating to Squirts. It is here that Eddie remains the team’s internal nemesis despite their success in the standings.
Volume 2 is subtitled Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid and rather than spoil the storyline let’s leave it as a mystery within the book’s broader lesson plan.
Sophia’s team heads to Lake Placid for a tournament that includes the much-feared Canadian team.
Eddie is still the puck hog but we are drawn along the storyline that has Casciano revealing frailty in Eddie that leads to the book’s pivotal moment of redemption for Eddie and celebration for Sophia and the team.
In a gentle, but not so subtle manner Casciano has all the ingredients for what makes a puck hog including a domineering parent, in this case Eddie’s father who shouts demands and jeers for his son from the stands in both books.
In effect, Casciano has two life lessons, one for the puck hog and one for the parent. And by the end of the second book, son and father have their own epiphanies with recognition, growth and redemption presented for the reader.
Neither volume of The Puck Hog is syrupy, preachy or whiny. Instead, Casciano treats her target audience as young adults and offers them the problem, the process to resolution and the adult reaction to the redemption of Eddie and his father. There are no “I told you so’s” there is only welcoming of Eddie to “the team” as teammate.
And of course, there is Sophia’s mystery but you need to get the book for this little treasure of a back story.
Open today’s newspaper or latest Twitter feed and you will certainly see some report of poor behavior on or off the ice or field of play. Teaching moments are plentiful but how does one engrain good contact, sportsmanship or the concept of “the team”? That is where Christie Casciano’s The Puck Hog (both volumes!) comes in. This is a well-conceived and well-written pair of books that make the lessons easy to read for children and easy for the hockey players’ parents to respond to and enhance.
Rose Mary Casciano Moziak’s illustration rendition
The author Christie Casciano is an anchor with WSYR television in Syracuse, NY. The Puck Hog was illustrated by Rose Mary Casciano Moziak, Christie’s sister.