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Down and Back: On Alcohol, Family, and a Life in Hockey
Justin Bourne
Viking Canada / Hardcover / Feb 2023
9780735245006 (ISBN-10: 0735245002)
Addiction / Biography and Memoir
price: $36.00 (may be subject to change)
304 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

For readers of Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father and Hockey Confidential, Down and Back tells broadcaster Justin Bourne’s story of following his Hall-of-Fame father not only to the NHL, but also into rehab.

Bob Bourne was everything a son wants to emulate—an NHL All-Star, a Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year,” a Stanley Cup champion. Justin Bourne followed in those huge footsteps, leading his teams in scoring year after year, and finally garnering an invitation to the New York Islanders’ training camp—the same team his father had played for. But Bourne was also following his father down a darker path.

Though he hadn’t begun drinking until he was 21, by 36 his drinking had nearly swamped his career and his marriage. In an act of brutal self-honesty—which may not have been possible if not for his understanding of how lying spurred by alcoholism can cause a family pain—Bourne got help, got sober, and confronted what his father and the game mean to him.

Down and Back is a frank and unflinching appraisal of the game and Bourne’s relationship with it: the violence and danger, the booze and drugs, the consequences of fame. But it is also an honest look at what is redeeming about the sport, through the eyes of someone who grew up in NHL dressing rooms, who has skated on NHL ice as both a player and a coach, and who inherited the game from a man he’s grown to better understand by looking more closely at himself.


“Justin does a deft job using his own career timeline to examine a number of hockey’s cultural touchpoints, and their impact on his own life. It may just be one player’s story, but there are lessons we can all relate to, even if we’ve never played a single shift. You can’t help but root for him along the way. An important, endlessly compelling read.”
—James Duthie, TSN sportscaster and bestselling author of The Guy on the Left

“I learned from this book. A fascinating story about life and the challenges Justin faced and continues to face. Well worth the read!”
—Brian Burke, president of hockey operations of the Pittsburgh Penguins and bestselling author of Burke’s Law

“Down and Back finds a way to be both an engaging hockey book, and a greater musing on life’s bigger themes like family, self-identity, and love. A great read with something for everyone.”
—John Buccigross, ESPN sportscaster and co-host of SportsCenter

“‘In nature’s infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read.’ That’s Shakespeare’s way of saying that the important truths reveal themselves only at the cost of hard work. Get ready to join Justin on a line after line rush to answer the question, his question, and yours . . . Are my talents real?”
—Ron MacLean, CBC sportscaster and host of Hockey Night in Canada

About the Author:

JUSTIN BOURNE is a former NCAA player and Toronto Marlies coach who signed on with Sportsnet in 2019. Born and raised in the world of hockey, he is known for his keen analytical eye, sharp wit, and ability to explain the game of hockey. Bourne currently hosts Real Kyper & Bourne alongside Stanley Cup champion Nick Kypreos, which broadcasts across Sportsnet’s many platforms. Bourne also regularly appears as an NHL analyst on Sportsnet’s television broadcasts, including Hockey Night in Canada, and contributes to NHL content on

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