In February 2002, the greatest hockey teams this country could muster headed to Salt Lake City to compete in the Winter Olympics. Our men and women hoped to go all the way to the finals, but it had been fifty long years since the Canadians had won Olympic gold. In the past, they had come close – it was just that luck always seemed to be against them.
This time, however, their chances to end the long drought were good. The women looked set for a medal – although the all-powerful American team stood between them and the ultimate prize. The Canadian men faced strong opponents, too, but prospects were good for the all-star team assembled by the great Wayne Gretzky. And this time, both teams had a secret weapon. So secret, in fact, they didn’t even know it existed. At first.
Like all good secrets this one was too good not to pass along. Under the surface at centre ice, Trent Evans had hidden a Canadian loonie. The expert ice maker had been invited down from Edmonton to help install the ice for the Games, and this was his little good-luck charm for our Olympic hockey teams. Perhaps, he figured, the guys could use some “home ice” advantage.
A Loonie for Luck is the true story of that loonie and the magic it wove at Salt Lake City. It follows Wayne Gretzky, Trent Evans, and the men’s and women’s teams through their time at the Games. And it pays tribute to the role of superstition and chance in hockey – a part of the sport not always acknowledged, but one that brings real magic to the game.
With the close co-operation of Wayne Gretzky and Trent Evans, Roy MacGregor tells the inside story of how the coin came to be in Trent Evans’ pocket and then buried under centre ice. He tells how, throughout the Games, the loonie was in danger of being uncovered as the secret began to spread, and how, as the tournament progressed, with the players in need of every break they could get, the good luck miraculously held.
This true story, brilliantly illustrated by Bill Slavin, is full of suspense, humour, and charm. It will delight every Canadian who felt a surge of pride for our athletes at Salt Lake City.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Roy MacGregor
Roy MacGregor is the acclaimed and bestselling author of Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey (shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award); A Life in the Bush (winner of the U.S. Rutstrum Award for Best Wilderness Book and the CAA Award for Biography); and Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People, as well as two novels, Canoe Lake and The Last Season, and the popular Screech Owls mystery series for young readers. A regular columnist at The Globe and Mail since 2002, MacGregor's journalism has garnered four National Magazine Awards and eight National Newspaper Award nominations. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and was described in the citation as one of Canada's "most gifted storytellers." He grew up in Huntsville, Ontario, and has kept returning to the Tom Thomson mystery all his writing life. He lives in Kanata.
“A true fable about hockey and the Olympics, and MacGregor tells the tale as only he can.”
“Dollars to donuts, you won’t find a better stocking stuffer for the shinny fans in your home.…It’s a treat.”
“At the urging of Wayne Gretzky, the mastermind behind the Olympic men's team, MacGregor weaves the story in his typically lyrical style, with delightful illustrations by Bill Slavin. And you thought a loony was worth just 63 cents U.S.”
“The year's best sports book? Roy MacGregor's charming true fable for all ages about Canada's 2002 Olympic hockey gold medal triumphs.…It's the story of how one lucky loonie went from a Tim Hortons cash register in Edmonton to centre ice at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.”
“A slim but oddly moving volume about the Canadian ice maker who secretly planted that famous loonie beneath the centre ice face-off spot at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Welcome back from a desert somewhere if you don't know that Canada won both men's and women's hockey gold medals at Salt Lake City. Roy MacGregor can take any aspect of hockey and make it an evocative read. He, then, is a natural when it comes to a story like this, which is essentially about Canada's almost mystical, and mythical, love affair with its favourite pastime. Bill Slavin's illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment.”
–Victoria Times Colonist
“Roy MacGregor has put together a nifty little hardcover called A Loonie for Luck, which affectionately details the exploits of an Edmonton icemaker named Trent Evans.…A Loonie for Luck clocks in at just under 100 pages, but MacGregor manages to jam in a lot of history about superstitions and omens, from Red Kelly's 'pyramid power' in Toronto to Ottawa forward Bruce Gardiner's ceremonial flushing of his hockey stick in the dressing-room toilet before each game.”
“What makes this slim, well-illustrated volume from the prolific Roy MacGregor so moving isn't that it's so Canadian but that it's also soooo Edmonton.…Does it get any better than this?…A heartwarming, heartfelt story about how one man, an icemaker from Edmonton, became part of a wonderful hockey yarn.”
“A true Canadian fable told with an air of magic and superstition. This is a story that we will tell our children and is destined to become a hockey legend. This small book…is complete with illustrations and is a must for any true hockey fan.”
“When you’ve got both Roy MacGregor and Wayne Gretzky involved in a project, it’s pretty much a lead pipe cinch to be good. And this little book doesn’t disappoint.…The quality of the writing and the compelling nature of the story, not to mention the fact that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Wayne Gretzky Foundation to help under-privileged kids buy hockey gear, make this a great book to buy the hockey fan, including yourself.”
–Oldtimers Hockey News
From the Hardcover edition.