It is an artist's delight," purred French painter André Fran√ßois of professional hockey. "It catches the action, the color and the excitement of America itself." Known in this country mostly for his children's books and famous abroad for his posters, cartoons, caricatures and ballet sets, Fran√ßois fell in love with hockey after a single visit to Madison Square Garden. The bold lines and flashing colors on the following pages are a valentine to his new love

The motion of the players," says François, "the color of the uniforms and the excitement of the crowd left my head reeling. I was full of hockey"

I particularly liked to keep my eyes on the goal. That way I caught the action like a wide-screen movie"

FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS