P.K. Subban: Fighting Racism To Become a Hockey Superstar and Role Model for Athletes of Colour

Lorimer. (Lorimer Recordbooks). Aug. 2020. 144p. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9781459415102; pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781459415089.
Gr 6-8–In a 2013 Sports Illustrated article, P.K. Subban topped a list of the most hated players in the NHL. In this biographical overview, Rondina unpacks the racial politics of the three-time All-Star’s hockey career. Born in Toronto to West Indian immigrant parents, Subban started skating before kindergarten. He went on to play elite hockey in high school before being drafted to a Montreal Canadiens minor league team at 18. Now playing for the New Jersey Devils, Subban is among the highest-paid defensemen in the league and has been a major contributor to various charities. Still, throughout his life, he has endured racist remarks and, more recently, hateful language on social media. Photographs depict Subban throughout his career, from his time in youth hockey through his experiences in the minor leagues and with Montreal and Nashville in the NHL. Text boxes highlight related subjects, such as retired winger Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first Black player in 1958. However, the back matter is disappointing. Many sources are quoted without proper citation, often introduced awkwardly in the text with a partial URL, rather than the website’s title. For example, an interview that appeared on the Ontario Hockey League website is referred to as “an 2019 interview.” An acknowledgments section names several publications, but there are no source notes or a bibliography.
VERDICT The racism Subban has faced is significant, and Rondina skillfully weaves this perspective into the story of his life and success. But this is not enough to overcome the shortcomings in the book’s documentation. A secondary purchase.

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