People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. The junior hockey team has a chance of winning the national semi-finals. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
If you’re like me and feeling the distinct loss of Pittsburgh hockey, or if, also like me, you’re a fan of the sadly no longer running television show, Friday Night Lights, I recommend checking out these novels by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. Though they take place in the small, rural village of Beartown, Sweden (rather than Dillon, Texas), and focus on hockey (not football), Beartown and Us Against You highlight the impact, both good and bad, that sports can have on a small town and the people who live in it.
A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that their town’s ice hockey club might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. But the arrival of a newcomer gives Beartown hockey a chance at a comeback.