Some players write a book about their career after they retire. But Jeremy Roenick isn’t just some player. Now six years removed from his last shift, the outspoken former NHL star and current NBC commentator has released his second book, Shoot First, Pass Later: My Life, No Filter, because he still had a lot to say.
“I had so many stories that ended up on the cutting room floor,” Roenick said. “People really loved my first book, and it was a success. My editors wanted me to do another book while the first was fresh in people’s minds.”
Much of Shoot First, Pass Later – co-authored by USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen – reads like a greatest hits list of Roenick’s recollections from his first book, J.R., released in 2012. He talks about his top career moments and some of his biggest regrets, freely admitting he could have handled himself better during much of his playing career. Roenick details how his gambling problems spiralled out of control and how his emotions have gotten the better of him.
There is a good deal of new material in the 242-page work, primarily about Roenick’s not-always-smooth transition from a player to an analyst. Not surprisingly, his outspoken nature has landed him in hot water with his new bosses, such as the time he called the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau “gutless” or criticized Bruins’ owner Jeremy Jacobs. In both cases, Roenick talks about the fallout and owning up to his mistakes.
It is that same blunt honesty that makes Roenick’s new book fun to read. He spells out the problems of being an NHL player, from the physical and mental tolls it takes, to the financial pitfalls faced by many athletes. He discusses his encounters with fans, including some of the strangest autograph requests he has received. Roenick also laments on how fans on Twitter will flame, or even threaten, him every time he says something negative about stars like Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby.
But that doesn’t keep him from criticizing current NHL players – Alexander Semin fans, be warned – in this book. True to his nature as an analyst, Roenick gives his no-holds-barred opinions on the game’s top players, commissioner Gary Bettman and the state of the NHL today.
“And I talk about my family a little bit more,” Roenick said, “which I think was important to me in terms of what my life was like as a family man, too.”
From arguments with his daughter to bonding with his son at a golf tournament, we get a more personal look at Roenick away from hockey.