Shut Out is a hockey love story. But it was a love that was unrequited
Bernie Saunders always had a passion for hockey. His prodigious talent was on display at all levels for everyone to see. But because he was Black, he was stymied at every turn and experienced nothing but taunting from opponents, spectators, coaches and even his own teammates. Despite this malevolence, Saunders continued to play, adopting a style akin to that of the historic house slave: serve but remain invisible. Signed by the Quebec Nordiques, he played with them for two years but spent most of his career playing collegiate hockey at Western Michigan University and in the minor leagues in Canada and the US. Eventually, the strain became too much for him. Dogged and overwhelmed by racism, he left hockey to work in the corporate sector.
This is a memoir about professional hockey by a player who had the potential to become a star but was blocked at almost every opportunity because of his race. In spite of this, Shut Out is a hopeful and uplifting book about facing adversity, overcoming it and moving ahead. Woven throughout the pages is Saunders’s love of his family, especially his brother, John, who died at sixty-one. Now retired, Bernie Saunders is still sought out by the hockey community for his sage observations and invaluable advice.