"The Home Team" Hits the Ice

I got my copies yesterday of The Home Team, just off the presses from Friesens' in Altona. This my latest children's picture book and is published by Always Books and commissioned by the Winnipeg Jets. I must say, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out... sure, I'm a bit biased, but there it is.

Working on The Home Team with author Holly Preston was great, and included a road trip to Canada's heartland. We spent a few mid-winter days in Winnipeg (February, to be precise), exploring sites that were to play a role in the story. We walked up and down the frozen rivers (the Red and the Assinboine), poking our heads into many of the weird and whimsical warming huts that dot the icepath.

The Forks, where the two rivers meet, was front and centre in the book where our junior Jets did a lot of their skating...

The MTS Centre on Portage Avenue was also on our list to visit-- since our junior Jets end up going to see the Jets in action, we had to check it out, too. In fact, Holly and I got to see the Colorado Avalanche play against our heroes. 

We also cruised various areas of the city, looking for a neighbourhood that our characters could call home.  My wonderful cousin Stefanie, a long-time Winnipegger (or is it "Winnipegonian"?), drove us around the south end of Winnipeg, outlining the characteristics of each neighbourhood -- Linden Woods, Waverley Heights, North Fort Garry, Assinboine Park (not necessarily in this order). We even came across one house with a skating rink right in the front yard, festooned with Jets' posters and banners, benches, official-looking ice markings, night lights. No sign of a zamboni... maybe it was in the garage.

The neighbourhood I eventually settled on as the backdrop is a mash-up of many of the areas Stefanie drove us through... I knew I wanted somewhere fairly central to downtown Winnipeg, with homes from the 1950s - '60s and lots of trees.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I include this scene below... a full-spread from inside MTS Centre, where one of the Jets flips a puck to our excited fans

Hope you enjoy The Home Team... and let's hope we get a hockey season this year!


Unknown said…
My 4 y/o son Charlie is a big jets fan (as are his parents) we live in sydney australia but his mum is from the 'peg. We showed him your pictures and he loved them, till now we have read the magic hockey skates over and over so it will be good to get a new book when we can track it down. In the meantime feel free to post a few more pages for us to look at, his mum was telling him how growing up she used to play hockey in the driveway and skate at the forks.
Thanks again
Val Lawton said…
G'day Scott and Charlie --
I'm hoping that the Jets will be distributing The Home Team online.

I'll post a few more pics for you and Charlie to see on my Facebook page, which is at .

In the meantime, keep sending happy hockey season thoughts from down under!!

tks for your note!

Val Lawton said…
ooops... meant to write


Amanda said…
I'm a first grade teacher and a huge Jets fan. My wonderful Educational Assistant just gave me "The Home Team" as a Christmas gift. I love the images of the Forks and the MTS Centre in the books. It's such a great book! I can't wait to read it to my class. :)

First Grade Garden

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