Bruce Berglund, "The Fastest Game in the World: Hockey and the Globalization of Sports" (U California Press, 2020)

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Today we are joined by Bruce Berglund, author of The Fastest Game in the World: Hockey and the Globalization of Sports (University of California Press, 2020). In this sweeping look at hockey, Bruce Berglund examines how a niche sport became a global favorite. Hockey has crossed cultures from North America to Europe and Asia, and has been a political flashpoint several times, most notably during the Summit Series of 1972 and the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Berglund’s research combs the archives of Central and Eastern Europe, and he gives a thorough overview of hockey from its beginnings in the nineteenth century. The impact of players like Wayne Gretzky, the influence of youth leagues and the emergence of women in the sport are areas that Berglund explores. Berglund weaves his research with his own personal experiences with hockey to create a compelling narrative. An “anxious child of the Cold War,” Berglund examines the rise of the Soviet hockey team — the Red Machine — and how it took over the international game. Berglund also explores the beginnings of hockey, which descended from a game called bandy. He demonstrates that hockey, while a passion for fans in Canada, has spread worldwide. The Stanley Cup, long a Canadian point of pride, now resides in Tampa, Florida, showing how even in warm-weather climates, hockey has made inroads.

Bob D’Angelo earned his master’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University in May 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent more than three decades as a sportswriter and sports copy editor, including 28 years on the sports copy desk at The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. He can be reached at bdangelo57@gmail.com. For more information, visit Bob D’Angelo’s Books and Blogs.

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