They Don't Play Hockey in Heaven: A Dream, a Team, and My Comeback Season

Overview

Ken Baker wanted nothing more than to play ice hockey with the pros–until a brain tumor cut his dreams short while in college. After surgery and several years of rehab, Baker, who in high school was a top prospect for the U.S. Olympic team, put his successful journalism career on hold to attempt the seemingly impossible: a comeback.
He moved away from his family to become the third-string goalie for the Bakersfield Condors, an AA-level minor-league team in the dusty oil town of ...

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Overview

Ken Baker wanted nothing more than to play ice hockey with the pros–until a brain tumor cut his dreams short while in college. After surgery and several years of rehab, Baker, who in high school was a top prospect for the U.S. Olympic team, put his successful journalism career on hold to attempt the seemingly impossible: a comeback.
He moved away from his family to become the third-string goalie for the Bakersfield Condors, an AA-level minor-league team in the dusty oil town of Bakersfield, California. At the age of thirty-one, Baker became the oldest rookie in all of pro-hockey, facing 1000-m.p.h. slap shots and long bus rides, hostile fans and cheap motel rooms, body bruises and battle-worn teammates.
Ken Baker is the West Coast Executive Editor for Us Weekly. He has written for ESPN the Magazine, Premiere, The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also appears regularly as an entertainment expert on E! Entertainment Television, VH-1, and several syndicated television shows. A native of Buffalo, New York, Baker also is author of the critically acclaimed Man Made: A Memoir of My Body. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids. He has all his teeth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A riveting and often hilarious account."—The Hockey News

"Inspirational...colorful descriptions make this a fun read."—Los Angeles Times

"One of the best sports books of the year."—Booklist

"Goalies are strange. This one survived not only celebrity journalism but also a brain tumor. But he had a dream. Which was? To stand in a cage on a sheet of ice while grown men with razors on their feet and clubs in their hands fired directly at him with alarming velocity a small black cylinder. He made his dream come true. Goalies are strange."Nancy Down, screenwriter, Slap Shot

Library Journal
As a teenage Olympic prospect, Baker wanted to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). However, by his senior year at Colgate University, the opportunity to play pro hockey had not yet materialized. Disillusioned, he moved on to become a journalist. Baker's world came to a grinding halt when a pituitary tumor was discovered in his brain. After a life-saving operation, he decided to live life to the fullest, putting his journalist career on hold to attempt a hockey comeback. At 31, Baker joined the Bakersfield (CA) Condors (a minor pro club) as a third-string goalie, becoming the oldest rookie in the league. Here he chronicles his trials and tribulations on the team and those of the many aging veterans who still have aspirations of playing in the NHL. Currently, Baker (Man Made: A Memoir of My Body) is the West Coast Bureau Chief for U.S. Weekly. A heartwarming tale of courage and determination; buy where demand warrants.-Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., B.C. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592286058
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 592,093
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Baker is the West Coast bureau chief for Us Weekly and his work has appeared in The Washington Post, Premiere, and ESPN the Magazine. A native of Buffalo, New York, Baker is also the author of the critically acclaimed Man Made: A Memoir of My Body. He has all his teeth.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2010

    Perfect for any sports fan or anyone in need of inspiration!

    They Don't Play Hockey in Heaven by Ken Baker is one of the most inspiring and real books I've ever encountered. It starts off with The Dream. A dream of Baker in the net for his former college team the Colgate Red Raiders and him making the big glove save in the final seconds of the game to lift his team to the win. After listening to the crowd chanting his name, he wakes up. It felt so real to him and ignites the flame back into him. Baker hadn't played hockey in over 8 years despite being a top prospect for the U.S.A. Olympic team in his hay day. This was due to a shocking diagnosis of a brain tumor. After this dream occurred it stuck in his mind and heart and inspired him to go out and try one more time to become a pro. However, at this point he was already 30 years old so it was now or never. He finally built up the courage to try out for the WCHL's Bakersfield Condors and was sure enough kept on as the third string goalie. During his time as a pro he encounters some very vivid characters, such as the captain of his team who was arrested for battery on his wife, and a coach that pushed him near the breaking point. In the end he fulfilled his dream of playing as a pro.
    This book is all about perseverance and beating the odds to become something great. Beating cancer in itself is an amazing story and Baker just took it those million steps further by coming back from such a devastating event and living his dream. He perseveres and even after eight years of not playing a single minute of competitive hockey makes it to the pros. He also struggles against the other much younger goalies that are competing for their spots in net and encounters a large amount of age discrimination. Being ten and twelve years older then some of the other players on his team made him the odd ball out and gave him just another challenge to overcome. His dedication and strong will power are awe-inspiring to say the least. Baker was also a successful journalist for U.S. Weekly magazine which made the style of the book very fun and interesting to read. He keeps you engaged in the story with vivid descriptions of the events he goes through and characters that he encounters through out his journey. His voice really shows itself in the book. The only thing that wasn't very good for me was how he didn't go into very much detail about his time as a young goaltender when he was at his prime. If you are a sports fan or just need to be inspired, this book is the perfect choice for you. Overall I would give it 4 out of five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2005

    Great, true story any hockey or sports fan will love!

    Great book and a must read for any hockey/sports fan. Does the fire still burn in you? Will you have the courage to answer the dream? What will you learn from it all?

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