Ice hockey is the fastest team game in the world and believe it or not it has been played in the UK for over 100 years. Great Britain were one of the founding members of the world governing body, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), in 1908. But despite winning Olympic bronze and gold medals in the 1920s and 1930s, it has only been played professionally in a league since 2003.
So that brings me to the Hockey Wars series, written by Sam Lawrence & Ben Jackson (authors of Don’t Fart in the Pool). Hockey Wars is the first book in what is currently a 12-book series. It focuses on a group of 10-year-old friends who live in the town of Dakota, USA and play ice hockey. Hockey Wars is a chapter book aimed at readers aged 8 to 12 years old focuses on who has the best hockey team – the boys or the girls? But underneath the story of the battle of the sexes, competitiveness and bitter rivalry is a story of friendships and relationships.
Millie and Cameron have been friends since birth but now at 10 years old their friendship isn’t once what it was. They used to play on the same school ice hockey team until separate teams for boys and girls were formed. The split in the teams not only created a division between the boys and the girls but fractured Millie and Cameron’s relationship. Hockey Wars is the story of these two very competitive teams and the relationships between the boys and girls building up to a grudge match between the Lightning (Boys) and the Hurricanes (Girls) – and you don’t even have to like hockey to enjoy the story.
Overall, Hockey Wars is an action-packed story for young readers aged 8-12 years old and is built around the setting of ice hockey. But it is more than that. Yes, there is lots of hockey talk and action as the story takes us to a grudge match between the boys and the girls teams to see who gets control of the frozen-over pond they practice on, but underneath it all is the story of hidden relationships between the boys and the girls and the thawing friendship of two once very good friends who were pretty much family.
It is an excellent character-driven chapter book that teaches the value of friendships. The characters are excellent and are written in way that young readers can relate to. The characters grow within the book when they come to realise that there is more to life than just playing hockey (or sport) and that friendships are much more important. It has been written in an easy style that teaches young readers the importance of friendships without preaching at them.
This is the first book in the series and introduces all the characters and sets the backstory for further stories. It isn’t all-out page to page ice hockey action but is an intriguing story of growing up whilst playing the sport they love.
Do Cameron and Millie resolve the issues with their friendships? And who wins the hockey game? You will just have to have a read Hockey Wars to find out. And remember, you do not have to necessarily like hockey or even know anything about it to enjoy this book.
Hockey Wars is a good story of friendship, compassion and competitiveness with some ice hockey action.
RRP: £7.99 (Paperback) / £3.36 (Kindle)
The Hockey Wars series is available to buy from Amazon here.