A behind the scenes look at a year in the life of the Peterborough Petes is the premise of retired Examiner managing editor Ed Arnold latest book project.
The Petes have granted Arnold unprecedented access for the 2012-13 season so he can tell the story of the players, coaches, managers, staff and executive in a way that’s never been done before.
Arnold started in April by sitting in the war room during the OHL draft, was on the bench in training camp, in the dressing room on opening night and on the bus to Ottawa Saturday. He’ll be embedded with the team all season working on a book project that Harper Collins is scheduled to publish in 2014.
Arnold says his own preconceived notions about how the club operates have been shattered.
“There are a lot of myths and fallacies about the Petes as I’m finding out,” Arnold said. “It’s a completely different story inside than what the fans recognize.”
The story will take the reader through one calendar year.
“Telling the stories that aren't normally told,” he said.
The biggest eye opener, says Arnold, is the work that goes into icing a team.
“They care as much as anybody about winning and that’s what it’s all about,” Arnold said.
“There is not a player, coach, manager, office worker who doesn’t want them to win and isn’t working their butts off to do it. There is a lot of hours that go into it. There may be a labour law against it,” he said, with a laugh.
He says it’s an interesting time to follow the Petes and OHL.
“The sale controversy, the Windsor controversy, the Puempel controversy,” he said.
But Arnold says his intent is not to write an expose.
“I’m not looking for the dirt,” he said. “There probably isn’t much any way. They’re teenagers trying to get to another level and that’s what I’m after. How to get to that level and what goes into getting them to that level and what makes that one person able to reach the next level.”
The author says it hits home how young the players are when he spends time with them. It’s given him a different perspective when he hears fans heckle.
“A lot of people forget they’re kids. I can’t believe the things people say about them when they lose,” he said.
“How about trying to support them? They’re the community’s team. Why not support them not just by going to the games but financially. Fans are the ones saying other teams are making all this money, well, help the Petes make money. Don’t stay away from the games and not sponsor them, help them, instead, of downgrading them.”
Arnold says he once thought the same as fans.
“I had major preconceived notions as any fan does. I m not the fan in the sense that I went to every game. I was never the beat writer. I was just on the outside looking in and now I’m on the inside looking out and it’s a completely different story. I think that story should be told, the work that goes into trying to put a team together and developing it and making it better. It’s a slow process and a hard job for all of these people.”
Arnold says he’s still deciding where the voice in the book will come from.
“There are so many stories I don't know what the central focus is going to be,” he said.
The players will be a major focus.
“They’re chasing dreams,” said Arnold. “That was the major idea behind it. The parents and players and staff chasing dreams.”
The book was Arnold’s idea.
“I wanted to do a book on my own time and wasn’t able to do it properly while I was at The Examiner. I had to work on weekends, at night, on vacation, so your family and time suffers. This will be the first time I’ve really had time to do it,” he said. “I wanted to do something I enjoy.”
Arnold does not yet have a working title.
“The players with their slogan this year ‘Burn the Boats’ might do it but I’m not quite sure, yet,” he said.
Arnold says the publisher wants a book with broader audience appeal than Peterborough.
“I hope it appeals to parents with kids who may not know anything about junior hockey, to hockey people in general and anybody interested in Canada’s number one culture — hockey.”
Story courtesy of email@example.com