My special guest writer today is Jerry Hack. We’re chatting about his memoir, Memoir of a Hockey Nobody: They Said I Couldn’t Make the NHL So I Went Out and Proved Them Right!
During his virtual book tour, Jerry will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Welcome, Jerry. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia. My sisters and I were raised by hard-working blue-collar parents. We were and are a tight knit family. I grew up loving sports but hockey most of all. In fact, it was my passion. I read about it, watched it and played it. I was an average student and a good athlete. I could play most sports without looking out of place. But I was born to be a goalie. I graduated from high school in 1979 and a year later began my journey playing ice hockey. 40 years later, I am happily married with a 12-year-old daughter and loving life more than ever.
What inspired you to write this book?
First of all, let me thank you for having me on your blog. I am thrilled to be here. It really started out as a lark. I was just posting funny stories on Facebook about my younger days when I played some “serious” hockey. The stories were getting quite a positive response, and more than a few people suggested that I should write a book. I had never even considered the possibility of doing such a thing. I had not written much since high school, and that was a billion years ago. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt I had a story to tell that’s never been told before. As far as I know, nobody has ever done what I did. Also, my parents had passed away in recent years and I realized that I didn’t know their story. I knew bits and pieces, but I realized that I would like to know the story of their lives, and they are gone now, so I can’t ask them. I thought about my own daughter and how one day she might want to know my story. I didn’t want to leave this life without her being able to find out. Now she will.
Excerpt from Memoir of a Hockey Nobody:
“Just one final note about my senior hockey career. I’ve never been a big believer in statistics. I like the quote from Bobby Bragan, who was a baseball player in the early 20th century. I’m paraphrasing but I believe he said, “The problem with statistics is, if you have one foot on fire and the other in a bucket of ice, according to the statisticians, you should be perfectly comfortable”. In the 4 seasons that I played for the Rebels, I won the Best Goalie trophy every year. 11 other goalies came and went during that time, some specifically to take my spot. I also won the league trophy for Best Goals Against Average every year. In 35 years of playing competitive hockey, I won a lot of trophies. The danger of winning that many is that you can start to think that you’re better than you are, (I call it “The Red Light Lonnie Syndrome”). I only kept one trophy from all those years and my wife is under strict instructions to show it to me if my head starts to get too big. I assumed that when the league bought the trophy that year, they sent it out to be engraved in a shop that didn’t employ sports fans. When I won the Best Goals Against award and it was presented to me, I read the inscription and it read:
“Best Average Goalie” “Jerry Hack”
How apt is that?”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m not a writer, I’m actually a forklift driver. While writing this book, I figured that this would be a “one shot deal” and I would most likely never write anything else. But the book has had such an overwhelmingly positive response and people seem to like not only what I write, but the way I write, so I feel I have to consider the possibility of doing it again. I have an idea for a novel banging around in my brain and the thought of putting pen to paper again excites me. I have a really twisted sense of humour and I think it would be fun to put some of my ideas into a make-believe world. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy the attention I’m getting from this one.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never have. Even after publishing my memoir I don’t consider myself one. I tell people that yes, I am an author, but I’m not a writer. I once saw a movie where a family has an author over for dinner. Their teenage son is just in awe of him as he wants to be a professional writer in his future. The author asks the teenager “why does a writer write?” The teenager answers without much hesitation, “to make money”. The author replies to him, “no, a writer writes to write. It is something he is, not something he does.” If I write another book, and it is published, maybe then I might consider the possibility that I may be a writer.
Do you write full time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I most definitely do not write full time. I am a total blue-collar worker bee. I drive a forklift for a lumber company. I am a shipper. I enjoy my job even though I have to do math every day. I have what I call “the loner gene”. I like myself, and I like being by myself, which I figure is why I enjoy writing (although this is a recent realization). I don’t know if it’s like this for writers, but I like the fact that when I am typing into my computer, I am the master of my domain. I am the dictator of my world and everything in it. I find the best time to write is after my wife and daughter have gone to bed and the house is quiet. My brain never really shuts off and the ideas and memories flow easily from my mind into my fingertips. Then the dog will bark and all is lost (not really).
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I haven’t been writing very long (a matter of months) so I’m not sure what quirks I have developed. This might be a better question for my wife. But if I had to pick one, I would say that it’s my ability to have complete and total focus on what I’m doing (part of being a goalie I guess). I will be plucking away on my keyboard and my wife will be trying to get my attention from across the room. I will be completely oblivious and totally absorbed in what I’m doing. She will finally throw something at my head (like a pillow, not a hammer). Sometimes when I’m writing I will even answer her questions without knowing that I’m doing so. Then later, she will ask me about the matter, and I will have no idea what she’s talking about. Also, I have a habit of using parentheses (I quit for a year, but I gained a lot of weight).
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not a writer. Again, if you are going to make me choose one, I would say professional goalie. It was my passion, bordering on obsession, for almost as long as I can remember. But also, there was a laundry list of others. At one time or another, I wanted to be a lawyer, football player, train engineer, stuntman (didn’t work out because I’m afraid of heights), sculptor, actor, astronomist, zoologist, park ranger, stock broker, psychologist, medical doctor, helicopter pilot (again, afraid of heights), or a professional golfer. It depended on the day which profession I wanted to be.
Anything additional you want to share with readers?
The book is not just for hockey fans. This is not only my opinion. Many different people have read it so far. Some hockey fans, some not. Male, female, young, not so young. Some who know me and some who do not. They all have said pretty much the same thing. It’s an interesting and inspiring story that will have you laughing out loud at times while maybe shedding a tear at others.
This is a review from a female reader named Trish C.
Reviewed in Canada on June 3, 2020
You don’t have to play hockey, heck even like hockey, to enjoy this book. It’s about the pursuit of a dream and the ups and downs of that pursuit. You will feel like your travelling along with the author through their journey. You’ll cheer, you’ll feel anguish but mostly you’ll laugh, a lot. It’s a a lighthearted, easy to follow memoir that will have you flipping page after page to see how their journey unfolds. Highly recommend.
Thank you, Lisa for having me on your blog. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Just one last thing, partial proceeds from the sale of my book go to help my friend Suzanne who is fighting stage 4 cancer. Some of the treatments that are helping her are not covered by insurance or the government. For the first 1,000 books sold, I am donating $3.00 from each one. So, if you buy my book, you help Suzanne. If you would like details of Suzanne’s Go Fund Me page, they are on the Memoir of a Hockey Nobody Facebook Page. Thanks everybody and stay safe!!
Thanks for being here today.