Hall of Fame Referee Paul Stewart Asks: “Ya Wanna Go?”

Hall of Fame Referee Paul Stewart Releases Autobiographical Memoir “Ya Wanna Go?” Worldwide

November 16, 2018


BOSTON, MA, November 16, 2018—Paul Stewart, legendary National Hockey League player and referee, and U.S Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, released today his long-anticipated autobiographical memoir, “Ya Wanna Go?” (published by Forthright Press).  Though hockey is Stewart’s lifeblood, his story transcends sports: it is a story about finding the will and the courage to fight for what you love. “Ya Wanna Go” invites readers to join Stewart on the turbulent journey through his life.

For Stewart, the phrase “Ya Wanna Go?” has had many meanings. From the invitation of his father to a 5-year old Stewart to join him at the Boston Arena to watch him coach, to standing toe-to-toe with some of hockey’s most notorious tough guys to engage in fisticuffs, to following the twists and turns along the roller coaster of life after his cancer diagnosis, Stewart’s life and career had its ups and downs. Through it all, by remaining true to himself and putting his love for the game ahead of everything else, he’s come out on top. 

Despite his roots as the grandson of Hall of Fame Chicago Black Hawks coach, Bill Stewart, Sr., a career in professional hockey did not come easily to Paul. He had to battle every step of the way to forge a path for himself. Throughout his amateur and professional career, certainteammates and coaches prickled at Stewart’s exuberance, mistaking his joy in playing and being part of the team for cockiness. Stewart had to fight just to maintain a spot on the roster. In fact, Paul scrapped his way to the WHA and the NHL, proving himself worthy of being in the ranks of professional hockey players. As a pro, Stewart made his living as a fighter; in his first season as a player, dressing for 46 professional games, Stewart collected 44 major fighting penalties and 273 total penalty minutes. Stewart squared off against some of hockey’s most infamous scrappers and held his own. The photo on the cover of “Ya Wanna Go” depicts one of Stewart’s defining career moments—“going” against Boston Bruins bruiser Terry O’Reilly.

But not all battles were waged on the ice. After Stewart’s playing career ended, he battled depression to regain his sense of self-worth in the absence of the only outlet he’d ever known. He did not yet know that while he was down, he was far from far out of the game. With the support of close friends, Stewart emerged from the depths of despair to redefine his role in hockey. This time, he embraced the rules of the game instead of breaking them, rising to the pinnacle of professional refereering as an NHL on-ice official. Still the battles for respect and opportunities waged on. As a referee, Stewart had to fight both preconceptions of him as a “goon” (despite his academic credentials) and outdated prejudices against Americans in Canada’s pastime. Again he prevailed. He became the first American-born referee to officiate 1,000 games in the NHL during the course of a 17-year career in officiating.

Despite Stewart’s success in the face of those challenges, in the prime of his reffing career he was blindsided by the only opponent he never saw coming: cancer. Stewart had ignored symptoms of his advanced disease until he could no longer avoid the truth. Only hours after the birth of his first son, in late February 1998 Stewart learned that he had Stage IV colon cancer. He was given an extremely bleak prognosis and did not know that he’d live to see his son’s first birthday. Ever the fighter, Stewart and his medical team formulated a plan. He worked tirelessly, despite feeling miserable most days, to get himself into peak physical condition to give himself every advantage in the fight against cancer. Miraculously, he again prevailed. Not only did Stewart defeat his disease, but he made his triumphant return to the ice on November 13, 1998. Stewart had won the literal battle of lifetime. 

“Ya Wanna Go” chronicles the ins-and-outs of a career in hockey in a bygone era. Stewart’s unique style of story-telling seemlessly blends humor and poignant introspection to propel the reader through his life story. The book leaves readers with his ultimate message: you can conquer whatever hurdles life throws your way. Stewart is living proof of this; he is going to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on December 12, 2018. He makes the case that an extraordinary life on the road less traveled is filled with twists and turns and bumps and hurdles. Yet Stewart asks: Ya wanna go? With Stewart as your companion, the answer is a resounding “yes.   

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Stewy The Subject of a New Children's Book About the Magic of Christmas

October, 27 2018

NEWTOWN, PA, October 27, 2018—Do you remember that magical time in childhood when dreams came true and everything was possible? For some, those days are distant memories. For 9-year old writer Matthew Sherman, as a newly minted author, those days are now.

Inspired by the true-life story of NHL legend Paul Stewart, “A Magical Christmas for Paul Stewart” tells a timeless story through the eyes of a child. Matthew recounts “Stewy’s” story of the skates that would take him everywhere—from skating in circles at the local rink all of the way to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, where Stewart is an inductee in the Class of 2018. A first year “squirt” hockey player himself, Matthew heard Paul’s story on NPR last year and innately understood, as only a child can, that the magic of Christmas and the holiday season-- and that one special gift-- can truly change your life. Matthew set out to share Paul’s story with a wider audience, finding an extraordinary collaboration with local artist and high school junior Chloe Mako. His prose is charmingly straightforward and her whimsical watercolor illustrations bring to life the magic of the story. “A Magical Christmas for Paul Stewart”is the first published work for both author and illustrator.


The book recounts Young Paul, who watches as his father coaches the high school hockey team and dreams of becoming a hockey player, too. As the son of a schoolteacher, though, and with three siblings, money is tight—so Paul learns to skate in his sister’s old, beat up, white figure skates. One day, shortly before Christmas, the kindly Mr. Bishop from the skate shop asks Paul for a favor: he is shopping for new hockey skates for his nephew who just happensto be about the same size as Paul. Together they find the most perfect pair--only for Paul to have to put them back into the box for another child to enjoy. Christmas morning arrives and Santa has brought Paul a very special surprise—and that is the gift that launched a Hall-of-Fame career and a lifelong love of hockey. 


Is the pairing of an NHL legend and a 4thgrade writer an unlikely pairing? Perhaps. But in some ways, Matthew Sherman and Paul Stewart are more alike than not. 

“As a fellow author--and moreso a fellow skater—I feel that Matthew Sherman’s efforts to bring to his peers my story of the first pair of ‘magical skates’ I owned is heartwarming,” Stewart said.  “I am especially thrilled that Matthew has allocated a portion of the proceeds to benefit other childrenwho have yet to feel the joy of putting on a pair of skates and making their way around the ice. To me, that is the essence of the holiday spirit—the joy of giving to others and the magic of receiving something completely unexpected that can change your life.” Stewart presents his own spin on the path those skates set him on in his upcoming autobiography, “Ya Wanna Go?,” due to be released this November. 

Help put a little magic into the holidays for the child in your life. Order your copy of “A Magical Christmas for Paul Stewart”today at Amazon, or ask for it locally wherever books are sold. You can learn more about Matthew at his website Follow Chloe on Instagram @ChloeMako_art


Stewart Selected for Induction to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

August 9, 2018

The US Hockey Hall of Fame announced today the Class of 2018 inductees, including legendary National Hockey League player and referee, Paul Stewart. Stewart is legendary for his roles in both breaking the rules and enforcing them.  In his first season as a player, dressing for 46 professional games, Stewart collected 44 major fighting penalties and 273 total penalty minutes. It seemed that Paul was the reason they had to have a referee. It came, then, as a surprise to some eventually to find Stewart dispensing the penalties instead of collecting them. Officiating his first NHL game on March 27, 1986, Stewart to become the first American-born referee to officiate 1,000 games in the NHL during the course of a 17-year career in officiating. Most remarkable, Stewart did so despite suffering from the symptoms of and treatment for advanced colon cancer. His triumphant return to the ice was nothing short of miraculous.


“Two decades ago, when I was told that I had an advanced stage of colon cancer, I bought a cemetery plot near that of my grandfather,” Stewart said.  “Thanks to my doctors, the love and support of my family and friends and my own will to fight, I am still alive to share a whole different type of real estate with Grampy: a place in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.”


Hockey was not only Stewart’s passion from the time he was a very small child, it was his birthright. Stewart’s name will be enshrined in the same hallowed halls as his grandfather, Bill Stewart, Senior, who coached the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory back in 1938. In so doing so, Bill became the only American-developed coach in the history of the NHL to merit hockey's top prize. With that feat, Bill helped blaze the trail for other notable American coaches in the NHL, such as Herb Brooks and Bob Johnson. He also set a very high standard for his grandson, Paul.


“Being inducted in the Hall of Fame is something that I never dreamed would happen… When I look at the company that I am being included with in the U.S. Hall …it is humbling.”


The induction ceremony will be held on December 12, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. The City of Nashville holds fond memories for Stewart, who recalled, “My second NHL game back was in Nashville; the team gave a Predators sweater to my son, McCauley.” Paul Stewart received a hero’s welcome and infant McCauley received a jersey in in honor of his father’s achievements and stature in the sport. 


For more information about the announcement and the induction, CLICK HERE.