Jeff Olson recently compiled a comprehensive book on Minnesota hockey greats. From Phil Housely to T.J. Oshie, the book coevrs the impact Minnesota players have had in the NHL.
Olson talks about his book in a Q and with Let’s Play Hockey.
1) What is your hockey background?
A: I won the lottery of hockey background of the highest level of hockey passion and hockey expertise with Minnesota giants, Coach Jack Blatherwick; Coach Joe Zywiec; and Coach Bob Gunderson; and many more giants of hockey that I was lucky to experience in my background of this fantastic game. I played high school hockey for Coach Jack Blatherwick at Breck School; coached high school hockey as an assistant to Head Coach Joe Zywiec at West St. Paul Sibley High; and coached small college hockey as an assistant to Coach Bob, “Gundy” Gunderson at Hamline University. I have coached youth hockey and high school hockey, and served as a referee of youth and adult hockey in Minnesota.
2) What inspired you to compile and write this book?
A: I was inspired by the tremendous achievements of Minnesota homegrown players doing great things in the NHL playing against the very best players in the world, players from Flin Flon, Manitoba; Thurso, Quebec; Moscow, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Brandon, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec. I was inspired to tell the story of the ground-breaking, pioneer players that broke down the NHL wall of no or very few American or Minnesota players for the players that followed. I was inspired to tell the story of Minnesota NHL records, I was inspired and encouraged by Lou Nanne, to tell these stories. There was no such book with a compiling of these Minnesota NHL records.
3) What do you think this book is important?
A: It is important to recognize and celebrate the NHL achievements of these incredible players and to tell the story of the foundation of their success from their outdoor rinks to the ground-breaking players and the Golden Era that transformed Minnesota hockey. It is important to have a record of their many terrific accomplishments and to provide the story with brief profiles of each of the Minnesota Hockey Greats and their route to the NHL.
4) How long did the research take you?
A: About four to five months that included getting some information from players about their home outdoor rinks growing up; and even a phone conversation with the God of Hockey, the greatest coach ever, Scotty Bowman. The research also included digging down deep into hockey information of the Minnesota Homegrown players.
5) What can readers expect when reading this book?
A: Readers can expect to learn about the Golden Era of 22 years from 1960 to 1982 that transformed hockey in Minnesota. They will learn about the 1982-1983 NHL season with 31 Minnesota Homegrown players making substantial contributions in the NHL, a zenith, a number never before attained, and a number never attained in the 39 years since that season. Readers will learn of the ground-breaking, pioneer players playing prior to the 1979-1980 season in the WHA and NHL players such as Tom Younghans, Steve Jensen, Dean Talafous, Pete LoPresti, Bill Nyrop, Reed Larson, Paul Holmgren, Dave Langevin, Mike Antonovich, Tim Sheehy, and Bill Butters. Readers can expect to journey deep into the records of accomplishments of Minnesota Homegrown players to learn the order of players with the most Stanley Cups, All-Star selections, goals per season, power play goals per season and career, playoff goals, career goals, and much more. Readers will learn the story of the big impact of Scotty Bowman in the development of the Minnesota NHL players; and of the 10 mile by 15 mile triangle of All-Star defenseman.
6) Any other books on your radar for the future?
A: Yes, Reed Larson and I are writing a book of his extraordinary ground-breaking, NHL All-Star hockey career with his incredible slapshot. The book has the working title of “Hockey’s Hardest Shot. The Story of Reed Larson from Sibley Park to NHL All-Star."
Olson's book is available at: