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Lloyd Percival (3 June 1913 – July 23, 1974), was an innovative and controversial Canadian sports coach and fitness expert. As an athlete he competed in the Canadian junior tennis finals, was a Canadian bantam Golden Gloves boxing champion, and all round cricketer. In 1936 he led to the touring Canadian cricket team to an unprecedented victory over Marylebone at Lords. Percival coached track and field and ice hockey.
Percival was born in Toronto. In 1941, following his successful sporting career, he started his popular CBC radio Sports College, with over three-quarters of a million students registered at one time. He began the Fitness Institute as a venture designed to pioneer sports/fitness testing and coaching techniques. Percival worked with many well-known Canadian athletes including golfer George Knudson and NHL goalie Dave Drained. Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Coronation Medal.
The Hockey Handbook
Perhaps his most long lasting impact upon Canadian sports remains his publication, The Hockey Handbook. Originally published in 1951, and rejected at the time by one NHL coach as “the product of a three-year-old mind,” Lloyd Percival’s The Hockey Handbook went on to have an international impact. European coaches treated the book as the first analytical assessment of hockey skills, team play and conditioning. In fact, the Soviet hockey powers based their program on the Hockey Handbook. Anatoli Tarasov, the godfather of Soviet hockey once told Percival: “Your wonderful book …introduced us to the mysteries of Canadian hockey, I have read (it) like a schoolboy.”
Re-publishing the handbook
In spring of 1974 Larry Sadler met with Lloyd Percival to discuss re-editing The Hockey Handbook. Percival agreed the time was ready for the update and the two men began to work on updating the book. The initiative stalled when Percival died suddenly in July of that same year. Undeterred, Sadler spent over 20 years continuing his quest to have The Hockey Handbook updated. Finally after convincing two friends, Wayne Major and Bob Thom, of the importance of the project the three men went to McClelland & Stewart Publishing and, after the parties consulted with the Percival family, the process began anew. In 1997, after 2 years, the work was completed, and The Hockey Handbook was re-published. The resource support team included such prominent hockey experts as Percival confidant Joe Taylor, former university and NHL coach Dave Chambers, power skating expert Marianne Watkins, sports therapist and chiropractor Dr. Tom Sawa and university coach and pro coach Don McKee. Nearly a half century after it was originally published, The Hockey Handbook remains in a class by itself. In all but one case the content was found, surprisingly, to be only in need of slight updating, so far ahead of its time was the content. The Training and Conditioning section and the Goaltending sections were the only areas which were considerably re-written. The conditioning portion was updated by Dr. Tom Sawa while Larry Sadler, one of Canada’s most innovative goaltending coaches, re-wrote the goaltending chapter.