Father David Bauer changed lives ― at the rink, in the classroom, and at the pulpit. Bauer’s dream created the first truly national Canadian hockey team. In 1963, that unique group represented Canada abroad and were committed to both country and to Father Bauer. Whether shepherding the hockey program at St. Michael’s College in Toronto or the men’s national team out of the University of British Columbia, Bauer was both spiritual leader and trailblazer.
Through exhaustive research and countless interviews, author Greg Oliver explores a Canadian icon, the teams that he put on the ice, and the rocky, almost unfathomable years of the 1970s when Canada didn’t play international hockey. Finally, for the first time ever, the whole story of Father Bauer’s critical importance to Canada’s game is told in the rich detail it deserves, and a beloved icon is celebrated for his contributions to our nation’s sporting history.
The 1972 Summit Series plays a part in Father Bauer and the Great Experiment as so many of Father Bauer's players told me they warned the NHLers that were facing the Russians how tough it would be ... and their advice was ignored. I actually have an Advance Reading Copy in this photo, and Quinn asked Ken Dryden a question about how different the Russians were in 1969, when he played for the Nats, compared to '72, and I was able to add Dryden's thoughts to the book at the last minute. interviewed in the book. This September 2016 photo features, back row, left to right, Yvon Cournoyer, Bobby Clarke, Serge Savard, Pete Mahovlich, Brad Park, Ron Ellis, Pat Stapleton; front row, Dennis Hull, Greg, Harry Sinden, Quinn, Ken Dryden.
For the first time, there is an audiobook available for one of my publications. You can now buy Father Bauer and the Great Experiment at Audible.com. J.P. Linton is the narrator. I wrote about the experience on my blog (since destroyed by Canoe.com).
Greg Oliver speaks to the Kitchener Sports Association about Father David Bauer, on September 19, 2017. Father Bauer, who was from Kitchener-Waterloo, won the Memorial Cup as a player (with the Oshawa Generals) and as a coach (with the St. Michaels Majors). He then created Canada's first national hockey team to compete at the 1964 Winter Olympics, and was the steward of the teams until 1970, when Canada dropped out of international play, and returned to manage the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey team. Greg's book, Father Bauer and the Great Experiment details all the story. Also appearing is Rod Seiling who played on the 1964 Canadian team at the Olympics, and at the 1972 Summit Series.
It is validating hearing from the players who knew and played for Father Bauer. They have started to send in messages. Here are a few:
- Terry Caffery, Canadian National Team: It is a terrific read. Your research was amazing and your writing skills also terrific. I will gladly spread the word about your book and plug it every chance I get.
- Stu Gibbs, UBC Thunderbirds: Just want to tell you how much I appreciate your fine effort in filling in such a gap in the literature of Canadian hockey. As one of many hockey guys who were touched by this exceptional man, I can say with absolutely no hesitation it's far better late than never that Father's contribution is so well described and acknowledged in such a fair-minded way.
- Terry O'Malley, Canadian National Team: Good job. ... The book reads well. Appreciate the effort.
- Barry MacKenzie, Canadian National Team: Just finished reading the book. You did great honour to FDB! Congrats.
ECW Press likes to get Advance Reading Copies out there early in the process, which led to a review in December 2016, at least four months before the book will hit shelves. Lance at Goodreads.com concludes with "But most important, the reader will learn how much Father Bauer meant to the game and why he is a beloved figure to all of those who played for him."
With a thump on the porch and a knock on the door, my copies of Father Bauer and the Great Experiment arrived at my home at the end of February 2017. Now comes the real fun -- getting the word out about the book and doing publicity and in-person appearances. Copies are being mailed to almost a hundred people interviewed in the book.
On Saturday, September 15, 2018, I was privileged to be a part of Word on the Street at the Halifax Central Library. I got to speak later in the day about Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, sharing the timeslot with Michael Cosgrove, and his book Salt Of The Turf: A Season In Football's Far Corner.