When the subject of hockey and death comes up, the conversation is usually centered around the New Jersey Devils killing hockey by draining the life out of the game. But for Michael McKinley, author of Hockey: A People's History, hockey and death take on a whole new meaning in his murder-mystery novel The Penalty Killing: A Martin Carter Mystery. Peter Raaymakers, of the Silver Seven, sat down for a conversation with McKinley, the hockey historian turned whodunit author, in which they explore a variety of topics above and beyond literary concerns. In the first part of the interview, Raaymakers and McKinley explore the role of media in hockey, and the influence exerted by the league and teams to control the media and the message:
Beat writers have to walk that very fine line, and anybody who reports for the mainstream media in an office for a publication or a radio broadcast or a TV broadcast knows that if they lose their access, they could lose their jobs. Bloggers have much more freedom, and of course that would scare a team.
The second part of the interview delves into the book, but not before veering into homosexuality in hockey:
A character, or a player of the stature of-and I want to make it clear, I'm not saying Alexander Ovechkin is gay-but say he was, and say he decided to come out, he could probably get away with it because he's such an outside character. He can back it up on the ice, if you will, but I don't think other guys would come after him for that because I think right now, players in the league know who is gay and I don't think that that is an issue for them.
According to McKinley in the interview, he's hard at work on the second novel in the Martin Carter series, "The Valley of the Shadow". We eagerly await his third novel, "Wasted Away Again In Hockeyville".
Check out the Silver Seven for more.