Great hockey reads: Searching for Bobby Orr by Stephen Brunt

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"On the river, he could skate forever. No barrier but the banks and the horizon, the ice stretching far out into the bay. Soon enough, the cold seemed to disappear, even for the boy who always insisted on lacing up barefoot - it just felt better, more natural, that way. Take the puck, and try to hold it. Keep away. Offer it up, then pull it back, tuck it behind the blade, make it disappear. Sleight of hand, sleight of feet. Learn to keep your head up, your eyes forward, feel the puck on your stick, don't look down. Speed up, change direction, the motion natural, deceptive, economical, graceful."

Stephen Brunt, Searching for Bobby Orr


His achievements are historic. His name is legend. His legacy is rarefied. Bobby Orr was more than just a great hockey player. He changed the game. The Ontario-born defenseman revolutionized his position by becoming a scoring threat, an elite passer, and an all-around contributor, always giving his team what it needed most from him.

But off the ice, the notoriously private Orr shied away from the spotlight, content to stay out of the press as much as possible. In his 2006 unauthorized biography Searching for Bobby Orr, veteran sports journalist Stephen Brunt attempts to paint a detailed portrait of the player and the man. He reached out to Orr, but the Hall of Famer declined his involvement in the book, leaving Brunt to develop an interesting narrative about the Orr mythology and the broader idea of hockey's immense influence on the Canadian psyche. Years later, Orr himself released a highly-anticipated memoir (and spoke to Q host Jian Ghomeshi about it), but his take on his own fabled career is modest, as he seeks to share credit for his myriad achievements and downplay his iconic status. In Searching for Bobby Orr, Brunt portrays Orr the way many Canadians remembered him -- as an inspiration.

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