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Searching for Terry Punchout

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Adam Macallister's sportswriting career is about to end before it begins, but he's got one last shot--a Sports Illustrated profile about hockey's most notorious goon, the reclusive Terry Punchout--who also happens to be Adam's estranged father. Adam returns to Pennington, Nova Scotia, where Terry now lives in the local rink and drives the Zamboni. Going home means drinking ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 15th 2018 by Invisible Publishing
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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J.D. DeHart
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Searching for Terry Punchout is strong and active writing that led me into the world of a character I did not expect to embrace as fully as I did. While I enjoy male writers and fiction about guys, sports have rarely caught my interest. Nevertheless, this book worked well for me, even with its use of hockey as a creative element. I'm tempted to call it "guy's fiction," but I think this is writing for both genders. ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a story contains hockey, one last chance for redemption, a trip back home and some touching family moments, it is a story that is worth reading. All of these and more are contained in Tyler Hellard’s excellent debut novel.

Adam Macallister returns from Calgary to his small home town in Nova Scotia to write a story for Sports Illustrated about the player who holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a career, nicknamed Terry Punchout. His real name is Terry Macallister – Adam’s father
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I'm not a fan of hockey, I am a fan of family dramas and this one lives up to the hype. Father and son re-connect after years of estrangement and silence when the protagonist returns to his hometown to write an article for Sports Illustrated detailing his father's uniquely violent history as a hockey player. Poignant and self-deprecating humor mark this debut as a novel with secrets and pain that prove maybe you CAN go home again!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny, sarcastic, and poignant, this story packs a whole lot into a small space in the best possible way. It's about returning to your hometown, and realizing you're not as different as you hoped you were. And coming to terms with your past and your family and your friends. And a little bit about hockey and life in a small town. If you read this and don't laugh out loud you are not a real human ;) Read it! ...more
Sheldon Birnie
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hockey-fiction
Bawango! She’s a beauty!
Chuck Slack
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun, light read.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, any book with hockey as a main theme is already going to get high marks from me. :-) I am a HUGE hockey fan (Go Blues!) and there just aren't enough good books that feature hockey. This is a good, funny and touching book that I really enjoyed reading. I've never read anything by this author, but will definitely read more of his books.

Adam Macallister is from small town Pennington, Nova Scot
Jean Mandella
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of Searching For Terry Punchout by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Reconnecting with an estranged family member, especially one that was once a famous/infamous household name, can go any number of ways. Adam Macallister takes us with him back to his hometown to hopefully save his sportswriting career by interviewing his own father, a once feared professional hockey “enforcer”. “The fight that ended my father’s career was legendary...that fight was regarded as no le ...more
Sue Trowbridge
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The nicknames cut in dressing rooms bleed into the rest of our lives. For all the romanticizing of hockey in this country, no one ever mentions that in places like Pennington, it's literally responsible for your identity."

Adam Macallister is an unemployed sportswriter who left Pennington, the small town in Nova Scotia where he grew up, a decade ago, after his mother's death. Estranged from his father, a former hockey player who holds the rather dubious record for most penalty minutes in an NHL
Jill Elizabeth
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I live in a hockey family and in a hockey part of the world, so as soon as I saw this title I couldn't request it fast enough... What fun - bittersweet and painful, just like hockey! It was like Beautiful Girls meets Slapshot - in the best possible way. As someone from a small town who also fled at the first opportunity - and also found herself back decades later - I could relate to this in ways that made me smile and tear up and laugh myself silly as I joined Adam on his journey home. Mine was ...more
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very Canadian story,set in small town Nova Scotia, but with universal themes everyone can relate to. Family estrangement and hockey culture lightly treated as a son tries to understand his father and himself. It was an enjoyable read.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Fluff book but a good read when you don’t want anything to heavy and you don’t mind it being predictable.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
So much more than a hockey story! Everyone can relate to leaving home, outrunning the past, and trying to build a life of one’s own... but at some point, we all return home. While fists are flying both on and off the ice, Hellard’s characters are vulnerable, and real enough to get choked up about. Funny, clever, sad, and wise. A top shelf debut novel!
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
To a suburban big-city boy geek like me, small town hockey life is exotic & curious at best, or just plain alien. But in this concise, stripped down, spartan story, this life manages to speak to me very effectively. A lot of heart, and a lot of wit...I liked it very much.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
great characters.
Justin L
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated with me for a lot of reasons.
It's something really special that hits you in the gut and nurses you back afterward.
Definitely worth your time.
Kevin Finn
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot. it reminded a lot of the simple ness and complications of relationships.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
“What I didn’t know is that he now lives in the same rink they named after him, the same rink where he’s been driving the Zamboni since I was fifteen years old.”

Hockey or fatherhood? Self-discovery or reflection on childhood? Fame or correcting past mistakes? This quick read is full of topics, but packs so many in that it has a hard time nailing down a theme.

If you’ve read We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night, this is sort of like the B-movie version of it. We find ourselves in a small town
Jennifer Will
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is really great. It's not a long read (I read it in two sittings) but it was entertaining and fun to read. It is firmly entrenched in the world of small-town Canada, small-town hockey, and the bruisers of the NHL from the 1970s and it captured all these elements perfectly.

It was also one of those books where I wasn't sure how it was going to end, or how I wanted it to end. Then when the ending came it wasn't at all what I was expecting but I thought it was great.
Lisa Brandt
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a terrific novel. Although it's set in the sports, and specifically hockey world (not my things, really), it is also much more than that. It's a well-written story about parents and children and failures and finally knowing the truth about one's family after years of making assumptions. Relatable but not predictable. ...more
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some of the most powerful passages come in Terry’s voice, as transcribed by Adam for the article he’s writing. Terry never wanted to be a father. “I just knew I wouldn’t be very good at it.” Ouch.

I wrote about this book at:
Bishnu B
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
If you're Canadian, but you don't live in Canada, and you read this book, it's gonna make you sad as hell ...more
January Kohli
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Oct 14, 2018
Mark Black
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Emmett Grogan
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Jul 23, 2020
Jill Dewes
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Jan 26, 2019
Robin van Eck
rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2019
Taylor Carver
rated it it was amazing
Aug 02, 2019
Joyce Byrne
rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2019
Sarah Mayes
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Sep 15, 2019
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Tyler Hellard is a Calgary-based copywriter, technology critic and author. His debut novel, Searching For Terry Punchout, was shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.

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“That’s the problem with home: even if I hate it, it’s still home. We’re wired for familiarity. It’s a design flaw.” 0 likes
“Hearing all this is like my drive through downtown Pennington: simultaneously familiar and not. So-and-so is working here now. Such-and-such got a new truck. Lives were lived in my absence. This world kept spinning, even without me in it.” 0 likes
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