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Peter Maher dives into Flames history (and his own) in new book

If you followed the Calgary Flames for any length of time during their glory days, it’s likely that Peter Maher was the soundtrack to your memories of the franchise. After a few years relaxing in retirement, he’s written a book (with George Johnson) that captures the spirit of some of the biggest Flames moments.

Entitled If These Walls Could Talk: Calgary Flames, Maher and Johnson’s book is part of a series of team-specific books by Triumph Books. Given how in-depth this one is regarding the team’s history and characters, they’ve set quite a high bar for the other team books.

The book is organized into four sections: Maher’s career path, his memories of specific players, his memories of key moments in Flames history, and some stories surrounding his retirement. The challenge in writing a book with Peter Maher is trying to capture the experience of listening to him tell stories about the Flames and his career with the printed word. As somebody who got to know him a little bit during the last few seasons he called Flames games, I can say that Johnson has done a great job capturing Maher’s spirit and enthusiasm with this book.

If you read Johnson’s previous book, 100 Things a Flames Fan Should Know or Do Before They Die, the structure is very similar. The sections each contain a series of anecdotes told from Maher’s perspective, and they’re all digestible, quick reads. I found myself enjoying the section about Maher’s rise through the broadcasting ranks and his perspective on games more than I expected, as he injects those unfamiliar stories with a great amount of self-depreciating humour.

The bulk of the book is familiar Flames history told from a unique perspective, and Maher frequently injects interesting tidbits into the stories to enhance them. He’s retired and doesn’t work in any official capacity in the game anymore, so he has the ability to share his thoughts in an unvarnished way that’s quite refreshing. The book isn’t tilling a ton of new ground, and it functionally retells a lot of anecdotes Maher’s told on air over the years, but it collects all these stories in one spot and adds a few that he hasn’t really told much – his discussion of his retirement is new stuff, but told in the typically classy, understated Maher manner. (I won’t spoil it here, but when you read the book his perspective on retiring the way he did makes a lot of sense.)

All in all, If These Walls Could Talk: Calgary Flames is an accessible, page-turner of a hockey book. It’s valuable as both a run through the history of the Flames and a capstone to the career of one of hockey’s best broadcasters.

For anybody thinking about picking the book up and looking at a fun and unique way to do it, consider grabbing a ticket to Friday night’s Calgary Hitmen game. They have a Meet the Authors package for $48.50 which gets you the book, a lower bowl ticket, a buffet dinner, and a pre-game Q&A with Maher and Johnson. The Hitmen are hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers, who feature highly-touted 2019 NHL Draft prospect Josh Williams, so it should also be a good game.



  • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

    Oh do I miss the days of Peter. Derek Wills is not worthy of holding Peters jockstrap. As a Flames fan it is sad to think we had Ed Whalen and Peter Maher and now we have the Pink Panther voice over Derek Wills and the 50 something teenage girl wanna be Kelly Hrudey. Oh how times have changed.

      • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

        Ed Whalen and Peter Maher were the greatest. Hrudey and Wills are so bad it hurts to listen to the game on radio and TV. Grew up listening to Peter so maybe I am biased.

        • Ed Whalens ghost

          If you want a laugh, watch Nightmare on Elm Street and in the scene where they’re watching tv on the couch you can hear Ed Whalen doing the play by play for a Flames game….

          • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

            I have more money than both of them….is that an accomplishment? I am really good at my job unlike both of them. No I did not make the NHL but I did make a ton of loot playing in Germany and Denmark. I have the same number of Stanley cups as both of them. I know saying “right” is reserved for teen girls not 50+ year old men. I will admit though…they both have more hair than me.

    • Alberta Ice

      Yep, I totally miss the days of Peter too; however I totally disagree with comparing Wills to Maher. As I am one of those who heard the broadcasts during the BOA games back in the 80’s, those games had more excitement and drama than you could imagine. The level of vitriol and drama between the Flames and Oilers and fans were as intense as you could imagine. If you really want a debate, compare Peter’s announcing to Rod Phillips back then (as both are radio announcing Hall of Famers and they should be). Edmonton fans of the 80’s who listened to Phillips are probably greatly missing his announcing skills too now, especially in lieu of the McDavid era there. Consider all announcers a key figure for making the radio broadcasts come alive. I will like hearing Wills even more if the Flames can make a run like the 1986, 1989, or 2004 teams. GFG.

      • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

        Wills is actually horrible. Cup run, no cup run, battle of alberta or not, he is just not good. He should be calling college basketball or womens soccer not NHL hockey. Whomever hired him is tone deff or does not listen to Flames broadcasts. Thise are my thoughts, not yours……man I also miss Joe sports.

  • Cfan in Van

    Oh man. Wish I was in Cowtown to catch that hitman game. I’d drop $50 for that book, a dinner, hockey game, and chance to chat with Mahr… What a freakin deal! I know what’s going on my christmas list (but likely won’t come with a dinner and hockey game).

    • deantheraven

      “I know, right? That’s a great deal.” (Sung in my best Kelly Hrudey voice)
      Actually, I’m one of the the few here who prefers Kelly over everyone else (especially Cassie) except Craig Simpson. I was blown away by how much he knew about the Flames for his first broadcast with Rick Ball.

      • Cfan in Van

        Ha ha, almost spat out my coffee. I actually read that in “Hrudey” even before you mentioned him. He’s a good guy, and knowledgeable, but I don’t think he should be in the business of talking. No offence to the guy, but communication isn’t his strong point. I’ve said it before, but my take is that Kelly would make a great neighbour (chatting over the fence with a beer) but isn’t made for TV.

        I think everyone can agree that Peter was an absolute legend, and we were lucky to have him as part of the Flames family for so long. It’ll be difficult for any broadcaster to connect with a fan base as well as he did.

  • buts

    Peter Maher was not only a great play by play man his interviews were second to none. Classy a man as it gets. When a player or the team struggled he never ever said a bad word about a player or team, class, class class. Enjoy your retirement Peter you were one of the best.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    I don’t care who immediately followed Maher, he was never going to measure up to his predecessor. Maher is in the freaking HOF! The guy is a broadcasting legend.