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Let’s Play a Hockey Game!

Let's Play Hockey
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Let's Play Hockey
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Winters, Kari-Lynn. (2016). Illustrated by Helen Flook. Let’s Play a Hockey Game!. Scholastic Canada. 32 pages. ISBN 9781443148184. Published in French as À vos marques! Prêts? Hockey!, trans. Isabelle Allard. ISBN 9781443148191.



    Time to play.
    It’s hockey guess time!
    To score a goal, call out the rhyme.
    The buzzer blares.
    Are you set?
    Slap the shot.
    It’s an open . . . NET!

This rollicking read will have kids calling out hockey words and terms as they get caught up in the energy of a game and a riddle with every page turn. Along with learning basic hockey terms and lingo, young readers and sports fans will be counting to ten and rhyming their way to reading fun.


KARI-LYNN WINTERS is an author, poet and performer. With over sixteen picture and poetry books published, she has won the British Columbia Book Prize silver medal for both Jeffrey and Sloth and On My Walk, and has been nominated numerous times for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize and the Chocolate Lily Award. She loves being in the classroom and teaches drama in education at Brock University. Kari-Lynn lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.


HELEN FLOOK grew up in the beautiful countryside of Wales, but spent 10 years in Canada with her husband and son where they learned all about hockey, real winters and what it was like to live somewhere completely different. She has since moved back to Wales, where she lives and works from a beautiful village called Abergwyngregyn.



    Review by Jill Griffith in CM Magazine 23:15 (December 2016), online at

    3/4: A children’s hockey match becomes a guessing game as readers are asked to come up with rhyming words to complete the hockey phrases.

    Although the book is ultimately a hockey guessing game, there is still a cleverly woven story as the reader follows a hockey game from start to finish and gets caught up in not only the guessing game but also the hockey game.

    The acrylic ink illustrations are fun, action packed and colourful, evoking all the sights and sounds of kids’ hockey games. Many are double page spreads, and the perspective is bang on, giving readers a front row seat to the game that is being played throughout the pages. Boys and girls populate both teams, making the book accessible to everyone.

    A few times the rhymes are forced “At the drop, try not to cough. You want to win the face….off,” and although the word count is spare, sometimes an extra word throws off the rhythm (see excerpt above – take out the word “guess” and kids would still understand the rhyming game). HOOOOC-KEY would be better spelled as HOC-KEEEEEEY, to make it sound less like skipping school, when read out loud – all minor changes which would create a better flow.

    Also, the rhyming game is most fun when the rhyming words are on the next page, hidden from view. There are a number of pages in which the answer to the rhyme is on the same page as the lead-in, likely so that the book didn’t run too long. The rhyming words are bolded and capitalized for emphasis, helping children learn hockey terms while learning to spell them.

    All in all, Let’s Play a Hockey Game! is a fun addition to children’s hockey picture books and a great interactive read-aloud.

For Kids (see other kids activities)

I presented at the Telling Tales 2017 festival, and the Hamilton Bulldogs helped promote the event and my book Let’s Play a Hockey Game! See the full video at, or if you’re not on Facebook, see a (small) version of the video embedded below:

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