Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey - ECW Press

Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey

Oliver, Greg

  • A pioneering and beloved Canadian legend comes to life

    Father David Bauer changed lives — at the rink, in the classroom, and at the pulpit. Bauer’s dream created the first truly national Canadian hockey team. In 1963, that unique group represented Canada abroad and were committed to both country and to Father Bauer. Whether shepherding the hockey program at St. Michael’s College in Toronto or the men’s national team out of the University of British Columbia, Bauer was both spiritual leader and trailblazer.

    Through exhaustive research and countless interviews, author Greg Oliver explores a Canadian icon, the teams that he put on the ice, and the rocky, almost unfathomable years of the 1970s when Canada didn’t play international hockey. Finally, for the first time ever, the whole story of Father Bauer’s critical importance to Canada’s game is told in the rich detail it deserves, and a beloved icon is celebrated for his contributions to our nation’s sporting history.


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    A writer, editor, and stay-at-home dad, Greg Oliver has written extensively about hockey and professional wrestling. Recent books include Blue Lines, Goal Lines, & Bottom Lines; Don’t Call Me Goon; The Goaltenders’ Union; Written in Blue & White; and Duck with the Puck. A member of the Society for International Hockey Research, Greg lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and son. Learn more at OliverBooks.ca. Jim Gregory is a vice-president with the NHL and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.


  • Published: April 2017

    ISBN: 9781770412491

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 300

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Father Bauer and the Great Experiment fills an important gap in the history of hockey as it is today played. Greg Oliver has done a masterful research job in showing how Father Bauer was far ahead of his time in the evolution on what is, today, a truly international game. Hockey around the world — Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, everywhere — is deeply indebted to this fascinating Canadian character.” — Roy MacGregor, bestselling author of Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey, and Wayne Gretzky’s Ghost

“It’s the labour and passion behind each word that makes Father Bauer and the Great Experiment such an excellent read. The ice beneath Bauer’s skates was rough at times, but his vision was solid. This is an amazing history of where our national game was and how it has progressed. A tap of the stick to Greg Oliver for his amazing efforts.” — Jiggs McDonald, broadcaster and 1990 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame

Father Bauer and the Great Experiment is not only one of the best-researched biographies I’ve ever read, but one of the most inspiring as Bauer valued technique and skill over brute force while instilling confidence and psychological well-being in his players.” — Waterloo Chronicle

“While David Bauer’s ‘great experiment’ to create a men’s national hockey ‘team-in-being’ focused on excellence, education, and values may have seemed quixotic, especially in a sport dominated by the NHL, his vision set the aspiration for the Canadian sport system to this day. It’s important that Canadians know his story. Greg Oliver’s well-researched biography ably captures the man, his mission, his players and his times.” — Bruce Kidd, author of The Death of Hockey, vice-president and principal, University of Toronto Scarborough

“Those who enjoy reading about hockey and biographies will want to read Greg Oliver’s book Father Bauer and the Great Experiment . . . An informative look at an interesting person who positively influenced many people.” — Glenn Perrett

“Oliver writes in an engaging fashion … [Father Bauer and the Great Experiment] lets us learn about yesteryear, when the Maple Leaf was proudly worn by amateurs whose love of sport and country was matched only by the Basilian Father behind the bench.” — Canada’s History