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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Ice Time by David Skuy has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is part of the “Rocket” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Bryan “Rocket” Rockwood is pleased with his performance in his first NHL training camp. He’s disappointed when he learns they’re sending him down to an American Hockey League (AHL) team, the Pinewood Racers. It will be challenging to support his mom and sister on an AHL salary.

Bryan’s high school friends have all abandoned their hockey aspirations and started college. His friend Megan urges him to take some college classes so he’ll have a plan B if hockey falls through. Bryan doesn’t want to think about plan B. Hockey means everything to him.

Bryan gets a ride to Pinewood with another player, Rory, who’s been sent down from the NHL after an injury. Rory has a wife and young daughter but spends most of his time on the road.

Attempting to save money, Bryan rents a room in a seedy neighborhood. His landlord is a warm El Salvadorian man named Ricardo. He was a physician in his homeland, but in Canada, he and his wife can only get work as janitors. Their young children admire and adore Bryan, so he feels like he’s living with family.

While Bryan likes his new Racer teammates, the win-at-all-costs owner, Floyd, frustrates him. Worse yet, one of the new coaches is a man named Barker, who made Bryan’s life miserable in his younger hockey days. Barker constantly criticizes Bryan.

Early in the season, Bryan takes a hard hit to the head. The team medic fears he has a concussion, but Bryan says he’s fine. He feels fatigued and sensitive to light, but he worries that admitting he has a concussion will get him benched or traded. Bryan comes home one day to find Ricardo arguing with a local drug dealer, who won’t stop hanging around their building.

Bryan stands up to the drug dealer. The thug sucker punches him in the head. Ricardo and his family take Bryan to the hospital, where tests show he’s received at least one concussion, maybe more.

Barker and Floyd dismiss the diagnosis and criticize Bryan for refusing to play. Supported by Rory, the medic and other team members, Bryan spends a boring month resting up. At Rory’s suggestion, he watches countless hours of footage so he can improve his defensive skills. Bryan can tell he’s not ready to return to the ice once the month is over. When he tells Barker and Floyd, they express their disgust and trade him to the Tennison Giants. They don’t disclose his injuries to the Giants’ staff, and they threaten Bryan’s career if he tells the new coaches about this unethical behavior.

Bryan reflects on the families he’s come to know during his time in the AHL. He sees how Rory puts his hockey career above everything, including time with his wife and daughter. He also notes how Ricardo sacrificed his career to give his kids a better life in Canada. Bryan wonders how much he is willing to sacrifice for hockey. Is it worth risking his health or not having a family of his own? He begins to reconsider Megan’s suggestion about college classes.

The Tennison Giants, led by an all-female staff of professional hockey players, welcome Bryan. They treat him with respect and help him get settled in his new city. He decides to stop lying and tells the coaches everything about his experience as a Racer.

They appreciate his honestly and leverage this information to sweeten their trade deal with the Racers. The coaches give Bryan additional time to recover before expecting him to play. He continues to review his tapes while recuperating, and he returns a better player.

Five years later, Bryan is an NHL star. He’s married to Megan and making his education a priority. He has supported his mother and sister, and he’s given Ricardo and his wife a loan, enabling them to return to school and get better jobs.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Bryan’s team manager and Coach Barker care only about wins. They’re insensitive to their players’ injuries and make numerous demeaning remarks to the team. They threaten to ruin the careers of players who cross them.

The Giants' coaches are kind and ethical, allowing Bryan the time he needs to heal. Bryan is close to his mom. He wants to provide for her financially since she has always supported his hockey dreams. He doesn’t mention his father except to express his disappointment that Dad never attended his games when he was a child.

Profanity/Violence

Questionable words include sucks, crap, butt and h---, each appearing a few times. Several skirmishes on and off the ice result in injuries. They are not described in graphic detail.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying/deception: Bryan lies and deceives others about his concussions so he won’t worry them or be thrown off his team. When he joins the Giants, he tells the whole truth and earns the respect of his coaches. When Barker is giving Bryan trouble, Rory suggests sucking up to him. Bryan tries this and pretends he wants Barker’s advice.

Drugs: A drug dealer tries to sell his wares around Ricardo’s building. When Ricardo and Bryan tell him to leave, he hits Bryan and inflicts a head injury.

Prejudice: Several people make racist comments about the team medic, Nadav, Ricardo and his family. Floyd asks why the team can’t hire people born in this country and suggests they don’t teach manners where Nadav comes from. A drug dealer mocks Ricardo’s broken English. Ricardo and his wife can’t get decent jobs or make much money because they are foreigners, even though they’re in Canada legally.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

9 to 12

Genre

Sports

Author

David Skuy

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Released

On Video

Year Published

2016

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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