Sports

Golden goalie takes readers on a trip

Ivan McLelland, who backstopped the 1955 Penticton Vees to a world championship has written a book about his life and hockey experiences. - Emanuel Sequeira/Western News
Ivan McLelland, who backstopped the 1955 Penticton Vees to a world championship has written a book about his life and hockey experiences.
— image credit: Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

With Christmas seven days away, are you feeling the pressure to find the right gift for the hockey fan in your family?

You can’t go wrong with Gold Mine to Gold Medal and Beyond written by Ivan McLelland.

You may feel like you made a clutch save. This book takes readers on a journey in which McLelland, the top goalie for the 1955 world champion Penticton Vees, makes several clutch saves at different times in his career.

Being a hockey fan, I love reading biographies.

When asked what it was like to write his first and only book, McLelland said it was a challenge for someone who hasn’t written anything before. While McLelland wouldn’t say he possesses a photographic memory, it’s pretty good. However, he still relied on the scrap-booking of his mother Bertha Mary Brown and wife Evelyn Faye McLelland, both of whom are deceased. McLelland dedicated his book to both along with his daughter Bonnie Lynn. Having that the information and memories at his disposal, things just began flowing.

An example of one memory involves his mother. She used to buy No. 10 tins of Bee Hive corn syrup. The youngster used to remove the labels and send them off for pictures of his favourite goalies, Turk Broda of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Frank Brimsek, who played for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. The empty cans would later be filled with coal and used as posts for Saturday and Sunday games at Porcupine Camp, Ont., where McLelland grew up. Another memory is of Molly, a mare, dropped little brown jewels that made the perfect puck in 20-below weather.

McLelland also gives insight about the Vees and how those teams were assembled as they pursued the ultimate goal of winning the world championship, as well as turmoil they dealt with. There McLelland relays a story about Don Berry and his exchange with coach Bill Carse. Berry brought in two hot dogs and a Coke between the second and third intermission of a game. Here is part of the exchange;

“What the hell is going on?” yelled Carse.

“Well coach, I worked late and didn’t have time to eat,” said Berry. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be just fine out there.”

Berry sat on the bench.

In the chapter titled Building a Contender, McLelland writes about the Warwick brothers (Grant, Dick and Bill), who hail from Regina, Sask. The author doesn’t hide the fact that he and Bill didn’t talk much during the season. As he tries to describe Bill, he refers to him as a “shit disturber” on the ice.

While McLelland admits to being a good English student, he said this is no literary treasure. He has always enjoyed writing, specifically letters. To help him with his project that took nearly two years to complete, McLelland bought books on how to write. They weren’t much help. However, one valuable tip he picked up was about writing short sentences.

What I enjoy about Gold Mine to Gold Medal and Beyond is it’s simple to read. Part of what McLelland liked about writing the book were the approaches he took. The two chapters in which he goes over the Vees defeating the Russians for the world championship, were written in the third person. He takes the reader to Krefeld, Germany, where he’s accompanied by his imaginary friend. Some parts are embellished but McLelland said “it’s a good story.”

This book has many good nuggets.

McLelland said writing a good story with limited skill has been interesting. He never thought he had the ability to write a book. McLelland wrote Gold Mind to Gold Medal and Beyond as he was encouraged by family and friends to let people into his life and hockey career.That created a demand he didn’t know existed. Having sold more than 850 copies of the limited edition, McLelland said it has been a success that he would like to see go national. It may happen as he has been asked to submit his book to two national publishers in Eastern Canada. Sales from that first edition are going towards supporting Alzheimer’s, which took his wife. The rest of the money will go to family.

What has amazed McLelland is the number of people who have talked to him about the book, revealing their own experiences.

Those interested in purchasing the book can do so by getting their name put on a list at Hooked on Books and it can be purchased as an E-book at www.goldmedaltogoldmine.com on Kindle, Apple iBook and other e-book formats. Or go to Smashwords.com.

 

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