The Player

by Paul Coccia

A gay hockey player in a secret relationship with a teammate worries how coming out will affect their chances in the sport.

When the gloves come off, what are you fighting for?

Cooper is the new goalie on his hockey team. He’s also gay. But the rest of the guys don’t know it. It’s not because Cooper is hiding it, or because he’s ashamed. It’s just that he considers the guys teammates, not friends yet. He’s heard the locker room talk and the way some of the guys talk about the “Puck Bunnies” and he’s not impressed.

So when Cooper and the team’s star player, Pesh, start fooling around, they agree to keep it just between them. Besides, Pesh is also seeing Bobbi, a girl with big dreams in sports PR who manages the social media accounts of players who have a chance at making it to the next level.

Soon Cooper begins to develop feelings for Pesh, but Pesh runs hot and cold towards him. It’s clear that Pesh fears for his hockey career if his relationship with Cooper is exposed. As Cooper becomes closer friends with Bobbi, he starts to wonder if Pesh isn’t playing them both.

About the Author

Paul Coccia

PAUL COCCIA has a specialist in English from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the YA novel Cub. Paul lives in Toronto, Ontario.


"The realistic and engaging content, relatable characters and fast-moving plot will be of interest to reluctant readers, beginning readers, and strong readers looking for a quick, interesting read. Highly Recommended."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Fans of hockey are likely to pick up this book and will learn about healthy romantic relationships and the experience of LGBTQ+ players of the sport."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Will draw in and retain the interest of reluctant readers."

Kirkus Reviews


Forest of Reading - Kid Committee List

Subjects (BISAC)


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