Wednesday, February 25, 2015


The Catechism of Hockey 
by Alyssa Bormes, 
with a Foreword by Dale Ahlquist 
(Minneapolis: The American Chesterton Society, 2013, 203 pages, paperback, $14.95.

The Catechism of Hockey Study Guide 
by Alyssa Bormes and Crystal Crocker (

Clever. Convincing. Catholic.

In The Catechism of Hockey, Alyssa Bormes ostensibly presents the rudiments and nuances of the famous sport of ice hockey, all the while really offering a look at a reality that is more lasting and, yes, more important: the Catholic Church—the chaste Spouse of the Master.

Weaving hockey and its peculiarities with the ancient-but-ever-new doctrines and practices of the Church, our authoress has performed for readers a real service, especially, perhaps, those who have little familiarity with the Bride of Christ and her salvific teachings.

So much information is present within, but much more than sheer information. There is explanation and analysis added to the facts that are bound to aid those who wish to explore what it means to be a Catholic.

Consider this passage about the importance of accepting Jesus Christ and His mandates:

"Jesus is not a Man who wasted words; He is the Word. He gave us the rules, the Deposit of Faith, and a Church to safeguard it. The Church is His Bride; He loves Her. His love was the love of self-sacrifice, not exploitation. When we take advantage of our close personal friendship with Christ, we exploit that friendship. When the rules are discarded, even if by His close personal friends, the Faith is degraded. Its status becomes precarious and chaotic. Eventually it is not even the Faith anymore. The Faith has died. But the Faith is for life." [page 69]

Are we conscious of the magnificent gifts that Christ has given to us through His Church?

"We take hockey pilgrimages, but what of spiritual pilgrimages? Have we taken our children to a Marian shrine? Have we taken them to a side altar to St. Joseph? Whose relics are in the altar at our parish, and what do we know of that Saint? Why do we call Therese the Little Flower, and why do we call Aquinas the Doctor of the Eucharist? Do we have any idea where our parish priest celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving and have we ever visited that parish to give thanks for his vocation?" [page 117]

Is Eternal Life even something we think about, much less strive for?

"The eternal crown of glory is available to all of our sons and daughters. It is available to children with and without physical or mental prowess. It is available to those with physical and mental handicaps—perhaps, in a sense, it’s even more available to them.

"It is a great glory in hockey when our sons seek its ultimate reward, the Stanley Cup. This glory is amplified upon winning the Cup.

"It is a greater glory when our sons and daughters seek their final reward, the Eternal Crown of Glory. This glory is amplified upon being given the crown.

"“‘Come,’ says my heart, ‘seek God’s face’; Your face, Lord, do I seek!” (Psalm 27:8)" [page 153]

Miss Bormes has done an admirable job in taking a popular athletic enterprise and using it to ponder the meaning of membership in the only Church that the Son of God and Son of Mary founded.

The Catechism of Hockey and The Catechism of Hockey Study Guide, with which Crystal Crocker assists, are highly recommended and are sure to educate, give mirth, encourage and inspire.

No one who uses these texts could be ruled to be offside, but those who do not may expect an extended stay in the penalty box.



  1. Thank you Monsignor Mangan! What a wonderful review - I am humbled that you like the book and study guide! In Christ, Alyssa Bormes

    1. J.M.J. Thank you, Alyssa. You have provided a real service to so many.