About the Catechism of Hockey
Why does hockey have so many rules? Do we still need to have penalty boxes? Can’t we get rid of offside? And why is practice so important? What’s the big deal with the Commissioner? And coaches? And referees? Why can’t they just let us play? Anyone involved in hockey – players, parents, fans – would never take any of these questions seriously. Without the rules, there would be no hockey. And without the drills there would be no thrills. And yet Catholics ask similar questions about the Church all the time. Why does the Church have so many rules? Why do we have to go to confession? Why do we need priests? And what’s the big deal with the Pope? Why does the faith have to be so difficult? Can’t we just play?
If you have ever needed help explaining the faith to your children, your friends and family, or even your foes, this is your new playbook. The Catechism of Hockey is one of the most unlikely, but effective Catholic resources for the New Evangelization.
Nihil obstat: Rev. George Welzbacher, Censor librorum, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Imprimatur: Most Rev. John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Published by ACS Books, 2014 | Purchase Now
Recent Press: “She Shoots, She Scores! Catholic author’s new book, ‘The Catechism of Hockey,’ draws parallels between faith, sport,” The Catholic Spirit
Coming Soon! Study Guide for the Catechism of Hockey, by Alyssa Bormes and Crystal Crocker
Foreward by Dale Ahlquist
There is nothing that the new generation pursues more eagerly than this sort of sport and games; and there is nothing that is full of more elaborate restrictions and conditions. But when the same youth attacks the larger problems of life, he has to-day a tendency to do it only with the largest and vaguest theories of liberty, or rather of anarchy. In many cases it is hard to say that he has any philosophy except the philosophy of doing as he likes. Yet the very amusements that he likes most might warn him that the test which breaks down even in little things will be yet more brittle in great ones. He will apply his anarchism to love but not to lawn tennis. Lawn tennis is one network of rules as close as the net itself; and far closer than any of those old Christian nets that were cast by the fishers of men. If there are ten commandments of God there are considerably more than ten commandments of golf.
—G.K. Chesterton Columbia, October, 1924
This is a right wing book. Of course, it’s also a left wing book. And a center book. And don’t forget the two defensemen and the goalie. The whole team is represented in these pages. Even the referee. And the commissioner. You will think about them all in a new way, even while you think about them in the same way.
What you are holding in your hand is an amazing teaching tool, even though it probably will not help you become a better hockey player. (If that is what you thought you were going to get from this book, well, someone just skated around you. But read it anyway. The game is not over.)
When I met Alyssa Bormes for the first time, she immediately started telling me about this great idea she had called “The Catechism of Hockey.” What sounded at first like simply an amusing analogy quickly became a jaw-dropping eternal object lesson. And so I sat there listening to her, open-mouthed, because my jaw had dropped.
“You should write a book,” I finally said.
“That’s exactly what I am going to do,” she grinned, one of those grins that hinted that she had already figured out she was going to write a book even before I brilliantly suggested it.
“I can’t wait to read it,” I added, scoring another original line.
That was about six years ago. So I did have to wait. And I had to remind her a few times about her great idea. In the meantime, I had the pleasure of watching her in action as a teacher, a public speaker, a counselor, a youth leader, and even at times a bookseller. But always a storyteller. Which made me remind her again about her great idea and the book she was going to write. Then I gave her an extra incentive. I told her I would publish it.
So she dug in and set to work. When I read the first draft, I was surprised. I already knew it was going to be about more than hockey. It turned out to be it about football and basketball, too.
But it is really about the Catholic Church. That was still the biggest surprise, even though I knew it was coming. And that’s the part that will continue to surprise you, even when you know it’s coming. You will be surprised by new insights and appreciations. You will be surprised at how incredibly well the metaphor keeps working.
Alyssa has taken subjects that everybody talks about all the time and combined them with subjects that nobody ever wants to talk about. The combination works perfectly. In a world where sports are taken more seriously than religion, and religion is treated more frivolously than a game, she has managed to make a connection between the two that is both serious and fun, bringing back the proper perspective toward each without misrepresenting either. She has found a way to explain the most difficult things to understand about the Catholic Church. She has defended some of the most difficult things to defend. And she has done it by writing about hockey.
Lace up your skates.
Dale Ahlquist, President
The American Chesterton Society
Praise for the Catechism of Hockey
Don’t let the title of this book fool you. Its purpose is a most serious one – the communication of the timeless truths of our Catholic Faith using images that are compelling to the man or woman of today. Such methods have been with us since the very beginning, ever since Truth made flesh picked up the mustard seed and unveiled to his listeners the power of the grain of wheat. It is my hope and my prayer that many souls will come into contact with this greatest of teachers, Jesus Christ, through the use, study and enjoyment of The Catechism of Hockey.
The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Miss Bormes’ new book offers an insightful and unique way of helping readers to better understand their faith. As a bishop and a hockey player, I am grateful for this contribution which I pray will be an effective tool in helping people to grow in a deeper appreciation for the Catholic Faith by viewing it through the lens of the game of hockey.
Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
Life is hockey? Maybe. The path to greatness is the same for both the NHL and your soul and this book will lead you there.
Brian Bonin,1996 Hobey Baker Award Winner
This book is enjoyable and should be an inspiration to those involved in the game of hockey. Herbie would have been humbled by bringing hockey into the realm of spirituality.
Patti Brooks, wife of the late Herb Brooks, 1980 USA Men’s Olympic Hockey Team Coach