GARDEN RIVER FIRST NATION — Ted Nolan has been a role model for Indigenous people across the country for decades now.
And he has more to add to his list of accomplishments—this past week, Nolan, a former National Hockey League (NHL) player and coach, announced his authorship of a book.
He teamed up with Toronto-based writer, Meg Masters, to co-author Life in Two Worlds: A Coach’s Journey from the Reserve to the NHL and Back.
The memoir of sorts, which is available for pre-order now, is scheduled to be released Oct. 10.
According to the Penguin Random House Canada website: “In 1997 Ted Nolan won the Jack Adams Award for best coach in the NHL. But he wouldn’t work in pro hockey again for almost a decade. What happened?
Growing up on a First Nation reserve, young Ted Nolan built his own backyard hockey rink and wore skates many sizes too big. But poverty wasn’t his biggest challenge. Playing the game meant spending his life in two worlds: one in which he was loved and accepted and one where he was often told he didn’t belong.
Ted proved he had what it took, joining the Detroit Red Wings in 1978. But when his on-ice career ended, he discovered his true passion wasn’t playing; it was coaching. First with the Soo Greyhounds and then with the Buffalo Sabres, Ted produced astonishing results. After his initial year as head coach with the Sabres, the club was being called the “hardest-working team in professional sports.” By his second, they had won their first Northeast Division title in sixteen years.
Yet, the Sabres failed to re-sign their much-loved, award-winning coach.
Life in Two Worlds chronicles those controversial years in Buffalo—and recounts how being shut out from the NHL left Ted frustrated, angry, and so vulnerable he almost destroyed his own life. It also tells of Ted’s inspiring recovery and his eventual return to a job he loved. But Life in Two Worlds is more than a story of succeeding against the odds. It’s an exploration of how a beloved sport can harbour subtle but devastating racism, of how a person can find meaning and purpose when opportunity and choice are stripped away, and of how focusing on what really matters can bring two worlds together.”