Check, Please!: # Hockey
By Ngozi Ukazu
Author’s website: www(.)ngoziu(.)com
Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here! Check, Please!: # Hockey
Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.
A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.
“In hockey, checking is anything that hinders a player with possession of the puck.” – Bitty.
Check, Please!: # Hockey, is the story of Eric “Bitty” Bittle a first and second year at Samwell University and him joining the hockey team to help him with a scholarship and because he likes to ski on ice. Before moving to Samwell, Bitty was the captain of his school hockey team and was an ice skater, thanks to his skater skills he was able to join the team at Samwell. Bitty tells his story in the form of video blogs (vlogs) to his internet followers, but at the same time, we get glimpses of the things that happen outside of the vlogs.
Over the course of the first couple of chapters, we meet all the members of the current and later hockey team. The most prominent members are Captain Jack Zimmermann, Shitty, Holster, Ransom, and Lardo. While the story centers around Bitty adapting to the new team and his new friends, we also get to experience Bitty’s college ups and downs at Samwell.
I really like the story of Bitty during his first year in Samwell, it was a very relatable tale for anybody who currently is in or went to college. It was fun to read Bitty’s journey in college as he befriends his new teammates and is trying to become a better hockey player.
The story also touches the topic of Bitty’s sexual orientation. Over the course of the first semester at Samwell and Bitty getting to know the hockey players better, he comes out as gay to them and the team is accepting of him. He doesn’t act as total jock as the other members, but his teammates accept his personality and become protective of him as another brother to them. It was nice to see the reaction of the other team members and how easily they accepted Bitty and adjusted their lives to make him more comfortable. Bitty likes to bake and once he moves into the Haus (hockey team house) he uses the available kitchen to his full use and feeds the house members, for which they are grateful.
I liked the characters in this book, at first, we only meet the team members of Samwell but later on, we meet the new recruits. I think anybody that reads Check, Please!: # Hockey, will agree with me that my favorite character of this story, after Bitty, was Shitty. I really liked his personality and him trying to help and take care of everybody. Jack was another good character, I liked the illustrations of him because the author did a great job illustrating his emotions and personality.
With the case of Jack, we also touch upon the topic of mental illness. We learn about Jack’s past as he tried to live up to all the expectation his family and the world had for him, and how all the stress and anxiety caused him to break. We saw glimpses of the past where he overdoses with his anxiety medication and had to be hospitalized, later on, we see that he decides not to party so hard as the rest of the team members or residents of the hockey team house. In my opinion, the author did a good job portraying Jack and the stress that sports players have to deal with to be able to get into higher leagues.
At the end of the book, we get to see the senior members of the team graduating and going on their respective ways, some of them to join official hockey teams and others continuing their education. At the same time, feelings come up to the surface and a declaration is made, leaving the story in a to-be-continued for the following year at Samwell. I would love to read the following year to learn what more is going to happen to Bitty and his team members.
The book is a bundle of Bitty’s stories, Check Please! Year One and Check Please! Year Two. The two stories were previously printed separately, but this new version comes with them together and additional content, some of its: Hockey Shit with Ransom and Holster, and Bitty’s twitter posts. These additional parts are very funny, and we get a glimpse of the backstories that are happening around the main story.
If you like comics sports related, with LGBT characters, pies, and fun characters then I recommend you, Check, Please!: # Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu. This story tells the journey of a young man through his first years in college who has joined the university’s hockey team; new experiences and people await Bitty in this new chapter of his life, and he and his team will check their way into your heart. and his team will check their way into your heart.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*