By Adam Proteau
Special to Page 3

Michael Peca is a cut above the run-of-the-mill hockey player. The New York Islanders captain has a voracious appetite for reading, which is a rarity among NHLers, especially when you consider he reads things other than the NHLPA's guide to conformity through clichés.

Michael Peca
That's right, there are a lot of hockey players, like Michael Peca, who enjoy reading.
"My teammates Adrian Aucoin and Dave Scatchard are big readers, but most of the other guys I've played with over the years prefer magazines," said Peca, a Toronto native who now makes his off-season home in Buffalo.

"But I just love how books make you exercise your imagination. And now that I have a son who is learning to read, it's even more of a thrill to see his eyes light up when he's bringing the stories to life in his head. It's one of the many great parts of being a dad."

In no particular order, here are the top 10 books in Peca's collection, with an explanation from Peca on why each one made the cut:

1. "Bag of Bones," by Stephen King
My sister-in-law was getting me Stephen King book after Stephen King book for a while, but this one has a really memorable storyline.

2. "Bringing Up Boys," by James Dobson
It's about bringing up your son in the modern world and staying true to your spirituality at the same time.

3. "A Prayer For Owen Meany," by John Irving
I read it a long time ago, but I remember how well the book mixed humor with more serious themes.

4. "Championship No Limit & Pot Limit Hold 'Em," by Tom McEvoy and T.J. Cloutier
I've been learning about poker for five or six years now and I visit the casinos on either side of the Canadian border to get a little practice in when I can. This reference book gives you a good grounding in the basics.

Surviving the NHL lockout
  • A hockey fan's to-do list
  • Michael Peca's reading list
  • Luc Robitaille's must-see movies
  • Anson Carter's favorite albums
  • Chris Pronger's best TV shows
  • 5. "Awaken The Giant Within," by Anthony Robbins
    This book was significant to me in my final year of junior hockey. As far as motivators go, it's the real deal.

    6. "Goodnight Moon," by Margaret Wise Brown
    Just a classic children's book. Both my son Trevor and my daughter Emily enjoy it.

    7. "Pat The Bunny," by Dorothy Kunhardt
    Another awesome book for kids.

    8. Anything by Dr. Seuss
    My son and I have a funny thing going over the past couple years where we just start rhyming in the middle of casual conversation. A lot of that comes out of the Dr. Seuss books; it shows you that kids will enjoy reading if you can make it fun.

    9. "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," by Stephen King
    I haven't read all of his stuff, but this collection of short stories proves just how potent (King's) imagination is.

    10. "The Holy Bible"
    I've left my favorite for last. It's nice to have a book you can keep coming back to over the years, and this one is it for me.

    Adam Proteau is a writer for the The Hockey News and can be reached at aproteau@thehockeynews.com.