SEATTLE — Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato said she had been asked for years to write a book about her experiences in becoming one of the best women’s hockey players of all time.
She finally has, but on her own terms and with a specific audience in mind — children. Her book, “I Can Play Too,” is based on hockey and other personal experiences but Granato is hoping the message can resonate beyond the ice.
“I think this message is about sort of believing in yourself,” Granato said. “That supersedes the game. It’s about perseverance and something that you really are passionate about, if others are trying to stop you from doing that, you don’t have to listen. Or other people don’t understand what you’re doing because you’re different. I think that’s an important message from the book.”
Granato unveiled the book Wednesday in conjunction with the Seattle Kraken, the NHL team she works for as a pro scout. The project is the culmination of a process that started several years ago when a friend suggested she push forward on her desire to write a children’s book based around her hockey life.
Granato said she’d been asked several times by literary agents to write a book telling the story of her fight for the chance to play hockey and her development into an Olympic gold medalist and one of the first two women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
But while raising her children, Granato felt there was an opportunity for her story to be geared toward kids. She finally moved ahead on the idea three years ago while on a camping trip.
“If you have those little things inside that you kind of want to express, you should do it,” Granato said. “And that’s sort of what I did. It was like, ‘I’m gonna do this.’ If I can inspire one little girl or one little boy I’m happy.”
The main character is named “Mimi” as a tribute to Granato’s aunt who died as a teenager from a heart condition. Granato’s middle name is Michelle after her aunt.
And it’s truly a family project. Granato’s nephew Dom illustrated the book.
A portion of the proceeds from the sales will go to support the “All Heart Foundation,” which was started by Craig Cunningham to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest. Cunningham was a player who suffered cardiac arrest on the ice before a game with the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL in 2016.
“I just didn’t want my name attached to the character. I wanted her to be her own character, based on my experience, of course,” Granato said. “But I thought Mimi is a character separate from who I am. I don’t need my name there. It’s not important to me. It’s not important to have my name in it. It’s important to have it separate.”
Along with the book release, Granato is balancing her full-time job as a pro scout for the Kraken. She said it’s been rewarding to see the Kraken come to life, even if the results on the ice haven’t been great so far.
“We were building a team for two years and now we have a team. It’s not nothing’s changed, you’re still doing the same type of scouting. It’s just you’re not trying to put an entire roster on your team,” Granato said.