Piper’s Top Five NHL Defensemen and their release ‘​Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn ( tour and giveaway)

Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Riptide Publishing
Cover art by

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Piper Vaughn here today on her tour for Off the Ice.  Welcome, Piper!

Piper’s Top Five NHL Defensemen

Hi, all! Piper Vaughn, here! Thanks for having me today. In honor of Tristan Holt, who is one of the main characters in OFF THE ICE – and a defenseman for my and Avon Gale’s fictional hockey team, the Atlanta Venom – I’ve decided to talk a little bit about my five favorite NHL defensemen. If you’re an ice hockey fan and you haven’t heard of these guys, they’re all worth checking out! 😀

Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues

If you’ve already read OFF THE ICE and saw the dedication, you won’t be surprised to see Colton Parayko as the first name on this list. Avon and I have been open about the fact that Parayko inspired our character, Tristan, and the plot for the book itself. In interviews Parayko comes across as a genuinely nice, bashful, and humble guy. He’s also an amazing defenseman! This is his third season with the Blues, and he’s known for being a playmaker and with every passing season, becoming a more offensive defenseman. He isn’t scoring a ton of goals himself, but he’s getting assists and helping his teammates score, which is crucial. This past off-season, he even signed an impressive 5-year contract extension with the Blues, proof of their faith in him and his developing skillset. I can only see him getting better from here! And his smile is to die for.

Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild

I have a thing for height differences and short, feisty players, and Spurgeon, clocking in at 5’7” (or 5’9”, depending which site you look at) is the shortest d-man on this list. You won’t necessarily find him among the NHL’s top 25 defensemen, but in my opinion, he’s vastly underrated and he’s constantly proving that size isn’t indicative of skill. He’s not a high-scoring defenseman, but he’s consistently good and puts up some respectable numbers in terms of goals and assists. Beyond that, he’s good at creating plays that lead to offensive chances, even if he’s not notching assists on those goals. In other words, he’s helping his team score! I only expect his numbers to improve over the next few years.   

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks

Burnzie is easily one of the top defensemen in the NHL and well-known for his skills as much as his impressive beard and his toothless grin. Burns is the ultimate offensive defenseman. He scores a lot of goals and notches even more assists. He’s also a goof, and I love his sense of humor. I’m a Sharks fan mostly because of him. Plus, I’ll never forget how supportive and awesome he was with his former teammate, John Scott, during the All-Star Game a couple of years ago. It was, hands down, the most memorable all-star game I’ll ever watch, and Burns was a big part of that.

Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

When I think of Ryan Suter, one word that comes to mind is solid. If you know your hockey history, you’ll know Ryan Suter is the son of Bob Suter, who played as part of the “Miracle on Ice” team in the 1980 Olympic Games. Much like what I’ve read about his father, Suter loves hockey, his family, and is a humble and dedicated player. He’s a point-scorer, whether it’s goals or assists, and he’s a reliable offensive defenseman – evidenced by consistently solid numbers and his participation in the NHL’s All-Star Games three times in the last 5 seasons. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s definitely a difference maker, and I’ve liked him since I watched his episode of “Becoming Wild” a couple of seasons ago.

Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets

Werenski is the youngest d-man on this list. He’s only 20, but last year he led the NHL rookie defensemen in points. He made a huge impact on the Blue Jackets and was even nominated for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the rookie of the year. To no one’s surprise, last year’s winner was Auston Matthews, who is an incredible player, but it’s still impressive Werenski finished third in the voting! I love bb!players and seeing them do so well. He has an exciting future ahead of him, and I’m really looking forward to watching him develop.

And those are my top five, although it wasn’t easy to narrow it down. The league is filled with so many talented players, and I have a soft spot for defensemen and goalies… but the goalies I’ll save for another post. ;D

 In the Hat Trick series, love and hockey collide—and create enough heat to melt the ice. Join the players as they chase both the Stanley Cup and their own personal happily ever afters.

About Off the Ice

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/off-the-ice

About Avon Gale

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon:

Website: www.avongalewrites.com

Blog: www.avongalewrites.com/category/blog/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/avongalewrites

Twitter: @avongalewrites

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/avongalewrites/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/avongale/


About Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.

  • As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.


Connect with Piper:

Website: http://pipervaughn.com/

Blog: https://pipervaughn.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pipervaughn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pipervaughn

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pipervaughn7/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piper.vaughn/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104698982870458063898


To celebrate the release of Off the Ice, one lucky winner will receive a Venom t-shirt in their size and Venom notebook! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 4, 2017. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. YAHHHH BURNZIE!!!!!! (Sharks gal here, if you can’t tell.) Vlasic rocks, too; shutdown d-men don’t get nearly enough love! I also loved Scott Hannan (especially in his mullet-topped glory days with the Sharks, Google “5 on 1 penalty kill against the Oilers” and prepare to be in awe…



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