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Young Adult Fiction Hockey

The Player

by (author) Paul Coccia

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Feb 2021
Hockey, Dating & Sex, LGBT
Recommended Age
13 to 18
Recommended Grade
Recommended Reading age
13 to 18
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price
    $27.99 USD

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Set in the traditionally homophobic world of amateur hockey, this book follows gay goalie Cooper in his struggle with his feelings for a teammate and coming out to his team. Cooper has been hooking up with teammate Pesh in secret, and has to play along when Pesh dates a girl and even tolerate locker-room homophobic talk. When Pesh outs Cooper online, trying to better his own chances at playing pro, Cooper chooses self-esteem and honesty over sex. With a strong and relatable main character, this book is a realistic, positive look at teen relationships — gay or straight.

About the author

Paul Coccia is the author of The Player and the bestselling Orca Soundings title Cub, which was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. He has an MFA in creative writing from UBC and lives in Toronto with his family.


Paul Coccia's profile page


  • Long-listed, Forest of Reading - Kid Committee List

Editorial Reviews

"The realistic and engaging content, relatable characters and fast-moving plot will be of interest to reluctant readers, beginning readers, and strong readers looking for a quick, interesting read. Highly Recommended."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Fans of hockey are likely to pick up this book and will learn about healthy romantic relationships and the experience of LGBTQ+ players of the sport."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Recommended for high school libraries."

School Library Journal

"Will draw in and retain the interest of reluctant readers."

Kirkus Reviews

Other titles by Paul Coccia

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