Series: Scoring Chances 05
Author: Avon Gale
Narrator: Scott R Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Sports
Length: 6 hrs, 50 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts
Blurb: It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportuni-ty to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappro-priate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the sea-son.
Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.
Review: Coach’s Challenge is the fifth book in Avon Gale’s Scoring Chances series. Not to be mixed up with, which is what I did, with VL Locey’s book of the same name from one of her excellent hockey romance series.
For me it’s been a couple years since I’ve read the Scoring Chances series, but I remember absolutely loving it and had been more than happy devouring them all at the time. This is a series that I recommend reading in order, even for those that just need to refresh what happened in the previous books of the series. This book is something that irons out a lot of the hurts of the previous books, as the team that had caused so much heartache undergo a change and become more tolerant and open under the support of a new coach. This is the story of the Raven’s redemption and you also really need to understand the hate and heartache directed at other teams that made the Asheville Raven’s the ECHL’s most hated team.
The MCs of this story are Troy Callahan and Shane North.
Troy Callahan is the coach. He didn’t have an easy time in his professional playing career (I won’t spoil anything!) but over the years has proved himself to be a damn good coach. Now, after replacing the unethical and all around horrible coach of the Asheville Ravens, it is his job to build the team up. (Think the Mighty Ducks if they had been made up of mostly brutish, homophobic a-holes). He has a plan for the team and the last thing the team needs is a player known for being aggressive.
Shane North has something to prove. He’s coming towards the end of his playing and feels like he needs to prove himself as a hockey player after a lackluster career in the majors. Shane is a lot different to what people assume of him, especially when they see him on the hockey rink. It’s really pleasing to see him open himself up to Troy.
Fans of the books will not be disappointed I think. It gives the Ravens a new lease on life after being totally vilified for four books. Sports romance fans will love this series too.
The narration by Scott R Smith is really quite wonderful. I would assume that it is difficult to capture the romance in between all the testosterone filled hockey plays, as well as dealing with the fall out as the Ravens seek their redemption. Smith gives the characters distinct voices and conveys their emotions, both on the rink and off. Listening to the audio has definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this book.