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Born in Waterloo, Ontario, in 1924, to a prominent family, David Bauer attended St. Michael’s College-School run by the Basilian Fathers of Toronto. After serving in World War II, Bauer joined the religious community and coached its St. Michael’s Majors to a national championship in 1961. Influenced by philosophers like Jacques Maritain, Bauer tried to find solutions to problems created within elite hockey and thus founded Canada’s first ever National Team program. This team countered the cutthroat ideals of hockey’s powerbrokers and set out to return Canada to international glory. The team represented the nation at several global tournaments and three Winter Olympic Games. Bauer was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.
Hockey Priest looks past simply understanding Bauer as a do-gooder or hockey innovator. It shows how he attempted to create a different stream of hockey that could better support youth and so build up the nation. Archival research for the book uncovered Bauer-written hockey reports, speeches, and notes that detail his thinking about the game and his politicking to bring about change in it. Interviews with dozens of associates and family members told the story of his bold efforts to take on the National Hockey League. Despite his work being undermined by some supporters of the corporate game, Bauer offered a vision for Canada’s sport that remains an important counterpoint in the sport’s history and its ongoing challenges.
Matt Hoven is an associate professor and Kule Chair at St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
"Hoven demonstrates both a convincing grasp on what made Bauer tick as a well a very sound command of the complexities of amateur hockey administration in the mid- and late twentieth century and its turbulent relationship with professional interests in the National Hockey League. The contribution is new and fresh; it is also significant."~Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State University
"I have had the privilege of skating beside Wayne Gretzky and watching the fiery eyes of Mark Messier command a dressing room. I have been coached and befriended by the iconic Clare Drake. But these experiences pale compared to time spent with Father David Bauer. Whether talking with him in Japan or at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, he could mold one’s attitudes, personality, and perspectives about sport and life. He taught us to want more out of the game than just winning. Self-esteem, community pride, volunteerism, gender and race equality, fairness, respect for the game – all qualities he proposed to make good hockey players into great men and women!"~Randy Gregg, two-time Olympian and five-time Stanley Cup Champion
"This indispensable story of Father David Bauer’s lifelong contribution to Canadian hockey is finally told. An insightful account that embraces Bauer’s staunch perseverance against a highly entrenched commercial hockey model. Never before have his value of athlete-centeredness and belief in personal development been more important, as we seek to create an alternative hockey system that welcomes all."~Julie Stevens, Brock University
"Hockey is bigger than any one person or organization. Father Bauer reminds us that it should first serve the needs of young players across our nation. Because hockey is for everyone, Bauer’s insights and example challenge us to consider the purpose of the game—for kids, parents, coaches, and our country. There’s more to life than hockey—and there’s more to hockey than a just game."~Hayley Wickenheiser, four-time Olympic Gold medalist and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee