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  • Down and Back

  • On Alcohol, Family, and a Life in Hockey
  • Written by: Justin Bourne
  • Narrated by: Justin Bourne
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Down and Back cover art

Down and Back

Written by: Justin Bourne
Narrated by: Justin Bourne
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Publisher's Summary

For listeners 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 began 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.

©2023 Justin Bourne (P)2023 Viking

What the critics say

"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

What listeners say about Down and Back

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Most relatable story I’ve ever listened to

A life in hockey feels unique. Always referred to as “the hockey player” until one day it just ends. Thank you Justin for telling your story, and making me feel like I’m not the only person struggling with life after playing.

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Mandatory Reading for anyone transitioning out of sport and into the “real world”

This level of transparency and vulnerability is rare, especially in the world of sports. Justin’s struggles and triumphs, though they are unique to him, share moments that hit close to home for many of us, both in the hockey community and beyond. It’s well told, heavy at times, yet really hard to put down.

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Great storyteller!

Justin’s journey provides great inspiration, and his delivery is up there with the best I’ve heard!

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Phenomenal!!

A great honest insight and very inspirational. Something like this could not have been easy to share but definitely grateful it was. Would recommend this to anyone.

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Love It

having struggled with addiction myself, this book hits close to home and had no idea someone you watch on TV all the time was fighting a battle as well. Well done Justin

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Excellent

I always liked JB’s commentary on hockey. Been listening to his podcast since it’s inception. I had no idea about his personal life or past. All the more respect gained for baring his soul, and trials in this book. Especially love that he narrated it himself. Humble, and inspiring. Guaranteed to help more than a few others in their battles with dependency.

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