Volume 95, Issue 46

Thursday, November 22, 2001
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Canada's hockey trivia whiz

Western's mountain bikers take on all-terrain

Canada's hockey trivia whiz

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

In some instances, being a know-it-all can be a very good thing.

Just ask Liam Maguire, Canada's pre-eminent hockey trivia guru and author of What's the Score, a hockey trivia book packed with facts and insight.

"I think one of the strengths of the book is I expand – it's not just a stock answer – it becomes 'did you know,'" Maguire explained. "You've got to do something special to stand out, especially a hockey book and especially in Canada."

A native of the Ottawa Valley, Maguire's life as a hockey wizard was spawned during a fateful night in the middle of the disco decade. "At an exhibition game in Ottawa, I bought a Montreal Canadiens media guide, took it home that night, read it cover-to-cover and was completely engrossed in the names from the old days," he said.

While his fan club includes Bobby Orr [who wrote the forward for his book] and Don Cherry, his first admirers were low-profile lunchtime pals. They sowed the seeds for his career roots.

"We had a little contest the next day at school and, for whatever reason, I happened to retain the most overnight and I got an instantaneous reputation and things just took off from there," Maguire said.

Six years later, Maguire's big shot came in the form of a call-in radio show – and he did not miss the net. "I did two hours, 150 questions and I missed seven," Maguire explained.

From there, it was an arduous journey through the radio station and television show ranks, but the pay-off has been huge.

Dave Van Dyck/Gazette
THE FACTS IN THIS BOOK MAKE IT MIGHTY HEAVY - JUST TAKE THE BLOODY PICTURE. Wayne Gretzky may have the record book covered, but trivia book supremacy in Canada goes to Liam Maguire

Maguire has penned one book previous to What's the Score and now hosts an Internet show from Monday to Friday on a site called puckchat.com.

The content of the show should come as no surprise. "It's an hour a day and it's all hockey. I have interviews, I have trivia, I have editorials," Maguire said.

To transform a hockey brain into a career, Maguire has used a hockey player's mentality. His confident, outspoken approach has not only made him a regular on TSN's opinion-based show Off The Record, but served to aid him in a field that demands immediate responses.

"Nobody else can do what I do, you've got to be a little bit brazen about it. If you're not during interviews and when I'm doing my act on-stage, I wouldn't be remembered. Occasionally, you're going to piss people off because they're going to say 'who does this guy think he is,' but more often than not, most people are on side because I don't put on any false airs," Maguire said.

Despite setting himself apart in the area of hockey knowledge, Maguire counts himself as just another guy at the end of the bar. "I'm a regular guy who likes to drink beer, I'm a huge fan and I'm just like you and thousands of others," he said.

If you want further evidence of Maguire's passion for hockey, just suggest that any country other than Canada is the world's dominant hockey force.

"I'm motivated by sticking up for Canadian hockey. I probably overdo it a little bit, but the way I look at it, how do you overdo it promoting Canada and waving the flag?" Maguire said.

Maguire's hockey player mindset shines brightest when discussing the Canadian national passion. "I go to bat for Canadian hockey and I will take on anybody, anywhere, anyplace, anytime verbally – and if you want to drop the gloves, we'll go that route too," he said.

In any scenario, this is one know-it-all you don't want to mess with.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001