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From behind the Iron Curtain onto hockey's biggest stage
The incredible true story of the trailblazing men who risked everything to pass through the Iron Curtain and become NHL superstars, Breakaway is a thrilling look at the untold stories that changed hockey forever. From midnight meetings in secluded forests, to evading capture by military and police forces, this is the story of the brave players whose passion of the game trumped all.
Featuring exclusive interviews with the legends of the ice who put everything on the line just for the chance to play on the world's greatest stage, many of them speaking about their experiences for the very first time, the book looks at how Peter Stastny, Igor Larionov, Petr Klima, Petr Nedved, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Alexander Mogilny, and other hockey superstars captured the imaginations of fans around the world.
As much a tale of espionage and social history as a gripping hockey chronicle, Breakaway sheds light on the untold stories of some of the sports' most inspiring heroes.
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The Dream Was Escape.
Hockey Was the Ticket.
Current NHL rosters are packed with Central and Eastern Europeans, outstanding players such as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Jaromir Jagr.
Until the Cold War ended in 1989, however, strict laws and harsh punishments prevented Eastern Bloc athletes from leaving their native countries to play for North American teams. Those caught in the attempt faced imprisonment, government retaliation against their family and friends, and the distinct possibility of being shot by twitchy border guards.
Despite these risks and the hardships faced by the relatives they left behind, a few daring players—like Vaclav Nedomansky, the Stastny brothers, and Petr Klima—followed in the path of the scientists and high-ranking military officials who defected to the West.
On their brief trips beyond the Iron Curtain for international tournaments, these sportsmen had glimpsed the comparatively free and affluent society of North America and the thrill of playing in hockey's most vaunted league—and when they returned to their homes in the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia, they could think of nothing else. Aided by agents on both sides of the Berlin Wall and team executives working with and against the Communist apparatus, these players found themselves agreeing to secret meetings and ambitious escape plans, all in order to fulfill their dreams.
Tal Pinchevsky has interviewed the stars who broke away as well as the agents, general managers, and others who were instrumental in their defection. As much a tale of espionage and social history as a gripping hockey chronicle, Breakaway sheds light on one of the greatest untold stories in sports.From the Back Cover:
"Breakaway reads like an international political spy thriller. A must-read for fans who want to know about the history of the game, who some of the great European players were, and the development of the global game as we know it today."
—Mike Smith, former General Manager, Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, and USA Hockey
Until the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union, athletes in Eastern Europe were prized as national heroes and afforded relative luxuries compared to other citizens. Better food, nicer apartments, the ability to travel, possibly even a car. But they still lived under the heel of a system that punished even the slightest transgressions or resistance to authority. Many accepted the conditions at home, but some sought a good life—not just a relatively better one. Risking imprisonment, retaliation against their families, or worse, a slow trickle of extremely talented hockey players defected to the West, seeking a life in North America with the NHL that they couldn't achieve elsewhere. Tal Pinchevsky traces their lives and the paths and dangers they faced, based on interviews he conducted with the players, their families, and the many people who helped them to break away.
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Book Description Wiley, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1118095006
Book Description Wiley. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1118095006 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0563338
Book Description Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # FISH 31
Book Description Wiley, 2012. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1118095006