The rich hockey history of the Ottawa Valley has been documented in a new book Valley Snapshots, written and self published by Grant McCagg.
A lifelong hockey fan who was born in Shawville, Que. and raised in Renfrew and Pembroke, McCagg was well aware of the area’s hockey history. As a journalism graduate, he always had a passion for writing about hockey and over the years had the opportunity to interview some of the greats. Then a couple of years ago, he decided to compile all of those interviews and stories into the book Valley Snapshots – Notable hockey players from the Upper Ottawa Valley.
“This was very much a labour of love,” the author said. “This book is about celebrating our hockey past and being proud of it. It is my project in all facets since I wrote the stories and did the layout for the book.”
He had a tough decision narrowing it down who would be in the book, but then decided to limit it to people who played in the National Hockey League, were drafted to the NHL or some individuals who only lived in the area for a limited time and didn’t play their minor hockey here such and Jim Peplinski and Ted Lindsay.
“Ted Lindsay moved when he was five but he is such a legend that we consider him to be our own,” McCagg said. “And Jim Peplinski his Valley ties run deep and he had a tremendous career so I had to include him. He was a great interview.”
Among the players featured in the book are Frank Nighbor, Hugh Lehman and Harry Cameron, Roy Giesebrecht, MJ Blimke, Chris Hayes, Terry Murray, Larry Trader of Barry’s Bay who was picked third overall in the OHA Major Junior League Priority Selection Draft , Pembroke Lumber Kings’s owner Dale McTavish and his friend Shawn Heins, both of Eganville and Petawawa’s Matthew Peca, who signed a two-way contract with the Montreal Canadiens last summer and has played 26 games with Montreal this season, scoring three goals.
What he really discovered when he was conducting his interview is how small the hockey world really is as many of the players had ties to one another or coaches that more than one player had played under.
McCagg already has plans to write a second volume featuring players who didn’t make it to the NHL but had interesting career paths and stories to share. For now, anyone interested in purchasing a copy of Valley Snapshots can do so at a few area locations – Dineamics Restaurant, Perkins in west end Pembroke, Bower’s Esso and Grocery and at the canteens during Pembroke Lumber Kings games. You can also order copies online at www.recrutes.ca.