Verdict: THE HOCKEY SAINT is a compelling and motivational story about friendship offered in a graphic novel format that is well-adapted for its audience of middle to high schoolers.
High school aged Tom Leonard gets the nerve to meet his hockey mentor Jake, and discovers that even mentors have their demons. Together the two of them battle both Jake and Tom’s demons in this heartwarming tale of friendship.
Tom Leonard’s parents are dead and he lives with his grandmother. He goes to school in the day and is devoted to his late-night soccer practices. One day he finally builds the confidence to meet hockey superstar Jeremiah Jacobson (Jake). Jake is surprised when he discovers that Jake’s days are not all spent on the ice and his focus in life is not on wealth and PR, in fact Jake has numerous volunteer activities that fill his time, and other secrets that he tries to keep out of the public’s eye. Just as Jake becomes integral in shaping and balancing Tom’s vision about hockey and life, Tom helps Jake battle his alcoholism and thwart a nosy reporter determined to bring down Jake’s reputation.
THE HOCKEY SAINT conveys the theme of friendship, growing up and making the right choices in a dynamic and modern graphic novel format perfectly suited to later middle to high school aged readers.
The story and art work complement one another, with a palette of muted colors setting a tone of seriousness that is suited to the issues of heavy drinking and the deeper issues of parental loss that Tom experiences; while the narrative does not get too immersed in the issues themselves, but rather stays focused on the proactive approaches to handling these issues.
Each chapter offers lively musical listening suggestions to accompany the reading, while panels are organized and framed to keep a visual flow through the already-compelling story through crisp dialogue and evocative images.
THE HOCKEY SAINT is a compelling and motivational story about friendship offered in a graphic novel format that is well-adapted for its audience of middle to high schoolers.