Hockey pool book review

By Jes Golbez

Well it’s hockey pool time — the favourite time of year for some of us — and with that we find at our local newsstands a
myriad of publications. So to help you with your picks in your hockey pool, here is a guide to some of the best, and worst, magazines to choose from. I’m not going to go into things such as who gives the best stats, generally they all give good stats, goals scored, assists, minutes played. Just the beef here, not soy allowed.

Now, there are different publications for different tastes and needs, but you can decide what you want, and where your money is best spent. But here is the order that I find the best.

For my money Slam’s Hockey Forecaster is far and away the best out there. While others give you glitz and sizzle, the Forecaster gives you most of everything. For the average office poolster they give a breakdown of the best to pick and the best to avoid. Their write-ups are concise and give you their opinion on why or why not a player will produce. But where this publication shines is in their coverage of secondary players and the prospects. While the average poolie wouldn’t touch a Tom Poti last year (and for good reason) the perpetual, or rotisserie, poolies love these little things and the Forecaster gives you plenty of this. If year in year out you
get to protect players you need to find the diamonds in the rough, and the Forecaster gives you that edge. The only problem I see is in presentation. The fonts they use are small and hard to read, and they use only monotone colours. Good for the bottom line, but to the reader it makes a difference. Still, I would rate this magazine as an “A” grade read for either the serious poolies or the office types.

McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook — A Canadian Magazine that is another mag that has it all for all poolies. Great stats and write-ups on most of the players that matter to the office poolie. And while it has lots of write-ups of the coming talent, they don’t go in depth enough. The major prospects, and up and comers are mentioned and profiles are given, but it generally stops at the top six or seven. Good, but not good enough for the most serious of poolies. They do evaluate the farm’s of each team, but their analyses are short and lack any type of depth. The main problem with
this mag is their write-ups don’t always match their point predictions. They glow in their appraisal of Patrick Elias, but then predict him to have a 30% drop off in points. Maybe one guy does the points and another does the write-ups, regardless, it could use fixing. Their fonts are easier to read, but by Christmas the magazine tends to fall apart. For those in the serious rotisserie league they may want to go back and see what they say about a player before making a trade. A solid binding would benefit this magazine. All-in-all a good read from front to back and plenty of stats to absorb. For the average poolster a good buy, but for the rotisserie poolie needs to go a little deeper and more consistency in their write ups. Grade — B+

The Hockey News — We hate to slag the bible of hockey books, but with two
publications we would have hoped for some depth. The Year Book is good for poolies only for player positioning (which is what the leagues I am in do) and little else. Each year they profile the same players, and don’t go into anyone that the average hockey wife wouldn’t know. A pass for your pool. Now their Ultimate Hockey Pool Guide is a useful book, but again mostly for the average office pool type. They go into established players generally, and do little in the way evaluating prospects. They, too, seem to down grade the points of each player from their write ups, which is disappointing. A glitzy looking mag, they give the best presentation and catch the eye of the general public. I would suspect that they will out sell the other guys,
but for the serious poolies, they may want this magazine as a supplement to the one of the better ones, as a second opinion on the established players. Too bad, I would have thought the Hockey News would have the most resources to get deep into the prospects of each team. Grade — B-

Hockey Pool Guide Book: Another one of those mass market books for the casual hockey poolie. They’ve got the big names of broadcasting all over the cover, and have improved greatly on their write-ups, but it, too, doesn’t go far enough. Goalies are virtually ignored in this book, and for the serious poolie that information is desperately needed. Their prospect section, while better than the Hockey News, is nothing compared to the Forecaster or McKeen’s. Give this one a pass if you are a serious poolie, but it’s worth a read on the news stands if you want a second opinion
as an office poolie. Grade — C+

The Sporting News Hockey — An American mag that just doesn’t cut it with the serious poolie, or for that matter the average poolster. They get most of their information and write ups from newspaper beat reporters, so don’t expect any great revelations. This one is heavy on stats and little use on write ups. Go to the “net” and get your information for nothing, it’s all the same thing. Grade — Save your money — C

Hockey Stars Hockey Yearbook — My son loves this one, but he’s only 9 years old. Not worth much for the poolie here, so don’t waste your effort.

One other publication that is worth looking into and that is a publication called The Hockey Pool Fax and you can find them at hockeyfax.com. They give a daily update on the top 200 players as they see it. Saves some time, and is worth a look for the office poolie just before they draft. Injuries affect players value, and the “Fax” gives you that and any training camp developments for the players. Available by either fax or email, this is a good supplement to the better books that appear because it’s up to date, whereas any of the pool books do their write ups in July, or earlier at times.