Here's what I know about hockey before reading this book: It's played on ice. There's a puck. There are three periods of 15 or 20 minutes each, not sure which. There's something called a power play. The Mighty Ducks movies are wildly inaccurate. Canada. Wayne Gretzky. The Stanley Cup. SWITCH! And the penalty box. Oh, and lots of fighting. And something about the blue line - I think that's the only place it's legal to initiate a fight? I'd need to watch that episode of Leverage again to be sure.
So as you can see, I don't know much. After listening to this book, I still know about the same as far as the gameplay, but a whole lot more about how the various leagues are set up, which isn't much different from baseball or football. So I feel like I can say that if you're hockey ignorant, that shouldn't impact whether or not you enjoy the story. :D There are a few scenes on the ice - and really I thought there could've been more - and according to one review I read by someone who actually does know the game, there were only two mistakes in the gameplay as written in the book. So I took all that stuff at face value and didn't think about it or analyze it much. They're written so that it's very easy to follow the action and to know what's at stake.
What I did love was Lane, who has perpetual Foot In Mouth Syndrome and his entire hockey career ahead of him. Sure, he's weird and says weird things and doesn't understand things like subtlety. He does have a filter, he even uses it sometimes, but mostly he just spouts out the first thing he thinks. But he's Canadian and has good manners, so he's mostly adorable when he does this. Then there's Jared, the aging enforcer who's looking down the barrel at possible retirement in the next few years, who's angry and bitter and plays the game like it's a metaphor for his life - and it kind of is. He's used to no one expecting much of him - including himself - and just wants to play hockey for as long as he can.
The buildup to the relationship was kind of non-existant, but it's insta-lust which is believable. I would've liked to spend more time with them at the beginning of their relationship, even if it was just phone talk and text messages (they play for different teams, so it's a long-distance relationship) so the commitment they felt for each other wouldn't have seemed like it came out of nowhere. But they're so adorkable together that I couldn't be bothered by that too much. Also, we get a bisexual character who is actually written as bisexual, not GFY. (Warning for those who don't like M/F in their M/M, there is one very short M/F scene in the beginning before the MCs get together.)
There wasn't as much dude-broing as I would've expected from a bunch of 20-something hockey players, and I thought it was a little unbelievable how everyone was okay with Lane and Jared once their relationship became common knowledge. Yes, the times are a'changing, but there are still plenty of bigots out there and sports attracts more than its share. Or maybe I'm just being bigoted against jocks. IDK. It doesn't need to be anything ragey or ever the top. Maybe they just notice one or two teammates avoiding them or something.
There were no big misunderstandings, no drama llamas, which was refreshing. There was some tension with the parentals, but it wasn't over the top or extreme. I felt like Jared's issues were left mostly unresolved, which is just one of the things that knocked a half-star off this. There were a lot of things that were rushed in places, such as the games as previously mentioned. We didn't even get to "see" a finals game and we breezed right through the playoffs. So I could've used a tad more details because I'm greedy like that, but this book was so hilarious and the characters so endearing that I wasn't too put off by it.
The narrator was perfect for this book and these characters. I feel like he got them all down perfect, and he tripped over those Foot In Mouth dialogues with ease. He could've paused longer between section breaks instead of going straight from one scene to another, but that was my only issue with him.