- Author Bio
Was one of the most unheralded captains of the Toronto Maple Leafs also one of the greatest players in the history of hockey’s most popular team? In telling his story of turmoil in Toronto’s Ballard years (and with Don Cherry’s Mississauga Ice Dogs), growing up in an environment filled with alcohol and alcoholism, and his own struggles and battles, Rick Vaive finally sets the record straight.
In the storied history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, no player scored fifty goals in a season until Rick Vaive in 1981-82. He did it three years in a row (only two others have scored 50 since) before being unceremoniously stripped of his captaincy and traded out of town, and he did it for a promising team that was nonetheless largely stuck at the bottom of the standings. So why isn’t his number 22 hanging from the rafters of the Leafs’ rink and his name as revered in Leafs lore as Gilmour, Sundin and Clark?
You could blame it on a team that lost far more than it won. You could blame Harold Ballard and his erratic ownership. You could blame the fans, the media…Rick Vaive doesn’t blame anybody. Sometimes, life just doesn’t go your way. He’d know. Growing up in a household plagued by alcoholism, the gifted young hockey player took shelter in the company of his grandmother and a blind and severely disabled uncle. Rick learned quickly that there are more valuable things in life than hockey. Even after his promising coaching career stopped dead when it ran into Don Cherry in Mississauga—one of the worst seasons in Ontario junior hockey history—he still doesn’t point fingers. Life is too sweet for regrets, but learning that lesson can be one hell of a ride.
Story Locale: Ottawa; Charlottetown; Toronto; Chicago; Buffalo; Niagara Falls, ON
UNVARNISHED TRUTH: Rick shares his intimate perspective on the Leafs years under tempestuous owner Harold Ballard, including the day the captain’s “C” was stripped from his sweater.
DON CHERRY: Once retired, Vaive coached successfully in the minor leagues. Then Don Cherry hired him to coach his OHL Mississauga Ice Dogs. The untold story of an incredible, maybe inevitable, hockey disaster.
US CONNECTION: The Leafs still compete for fan loyalty in NHL Sun Belt (Tampa Bay, Miami, Scottsdale). Rick will be remembered in North Charleston, where he won an ECHL Kelly Cup championship as coach of the South Carolina Stingrays.
ADDICTION: From growing up surrounded by alcoholism, to the six-pack on the team bus to help with his fear of flying, Rick grew up battling the bottle. It nearly cost him everything he held dear, but ultimately he wouldn’t let it take his life and family. He’s sober now, with life lessons well worth reading.
Publicity: Limited review coverage in outlets like the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star - hockey round up
- gift guides for the holiday season
Select sports blogger coverage
Multi-City tour in November (Tour cities: Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, etc) including book SW ON - Sarnia, etc
Indigo book signings at hockey towns - Belleville, London etc
Extensive national radio interviews like Sportsnet, CBC The Current, TSN, etc
Author Social Media: Twitter:@rickvaive22
“Hockey players tend to pull their punches in their autobiographies, and sometimes try to make themselves look better than they were. Not Vaive. This book is raw and real. The stories of his family, his battle with alcoholism, even the feelings that his career might be over before it even really started, show a genuine interest in telling the reader what things were really like to be Rick Vaive. Morrison is a great storyteller, having covered Vaive and the Maple Leafs through the 1980s when he was with the Toronto Sun. As a result, there are some fun media memories, too.” —Kevin McGran, Toronto Star
“[Catch 22] is an engrossing and informative read…. [I]ntriguing.” —Toronto Sun
“[E]xcellent.” —Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star