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The Game

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  4,115 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by "Sports Illustrated" as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, "The Game" is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Intelligent and insightful, former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ken Dryden captures the essence of the sport and wh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 4th 2005 by John Wiley & Sons (first published October 1st 1983)
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Jul 29, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1970-present, sports
I don't get it. I really don't.

Dryden is not THAT good of a writer, and while there are some magical passages here, and some great descriptions of Montreal and Canada at the time, on the whole the thing is a bit of a slog.

Maybe it's cause I don't like the Habs. On to Dave Bidini's hockey books, then.
Feb 11, 2016 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, sports, memoir
This book by former Montréal Canadiens Goalie Ken Dryden is nothing short of brilliant. It is certainly the best sports related biography I have ever read to this point in my life. As much as I enjoy Baseball biographies of former players of years gone by; this book by far outdoes them all. As a young lad growing up in Ontario Canada and prior to moving as a kid to Southern California – Ken Dryden was for me at the time a person I liked to despise – this of course due to my allegiance to the Tor ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
"A time capsule buried at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931 and revealed on Thursday (January 26, 2012) contains an NHL rule book, a municipal code, financial information on the team and a tiny carved ivory elephant of mysterious origin."(1)

Hockey in all its forms, in all its lore, never fails to captivate many Canadians. But do we listen carefully to those voices from the distant (1931 NHL rule book ...) and more recent past?

The Game by Ken Dryden, first published in 1983, offers enduring contribution
Published in '83, this book assumes that I will have been part of the 70s, part of the 2 channel television world, part of the hockey world. That is a fine assumption at the time. However, as I picked this up as a book that nearly won Canada Reads, that's not good enough. That assumption lay thickly between me and the words of the book. So many passages are just words - names, descriptions, references I don't get.

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to learn to like hockey better. I liked Ken D
Jul 25, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Liked this book more than I expected I would. It had 2.5 strikes against it in advance:

1. It's about hockey, and I am a huge sports fan in general but not particularly into hockey.
2. The author went to Cornell. Nothing against Cornell in particular, but I'm always suspicious when sports writing by Ivy League graduates is praised to high heaven -- raises the risk of George Will/Phil Jackson--style "the game is actually a metaphor for life/politics/community......." essays that get old fast.
2.5 No
Mar 31, 2014 Nikolai rated it really liked it
Canadiens de Montreal, said to be the best NHL franchise, with 24 Stanely Cup Championships, they
lead the legue. But why, why have they been so good, was it due to a one man band, or a band of brothers? Both.The goaltender is the hardest and may even be argued as the most important roll in hockey, and when crafting a winning team it's important to have a good, no, great goaltender. And that's precisely what the Montreal Canadiens had.
Ken Dryden, an Ontario native, may very well be the best goa
May 13, 2009 Tim rated it liked it
Ken Dryden's The Game has been hailed as the best hockey book ever written and included in Sports Illustrated's list of the top 100 best sports books of all time. While an interesting and insightful look at NHL hockey, its age may now hamper those accolades.[return][return]For those unfamiliar with him, Dryden played goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, a true hockey dynasty. During Dryden's eight seasons with the Canadiens in the 1970s, the team won the Stanley Cup six times. Dryden does not fi ...more
Matt Glaviano
Jan 29, 2008 Matt Glaviano rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
The Game is considered by many to be the greatest book about hockey ever written, and I can see why. Dryden’s thought is insightful, reflective, and intelligent; his prose clear, effectively detailed, and well structured. I found myself making a lot of thoughtful, audible noise while reading this book. It worked very well for, and taught me a lot about a game I already love and feel close to, though I have never played it (and, as such, sadly, will always feel it is outside me). I did find that ...more
John Yarbrough
Nov 27, 2010 John Yarbrough rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio
A salesman that I met in Point Clear Alabama told me about his love for the Montreal Canadians and he asked if I had ever read "The Game" by Ken Dryden. I remembered Dryden from the 70's and playing goalie for the Canadians' championship teams. He said that the book is the best hockey book that he has ever read. I would argue that its the best sports book that I've ever read besides tomes on fly fishing that seem to transcend sport and are really stories about life but someone could argue about ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing
I've read this book three times over the years, and although it is often said by many, it truly is one of the best if not THE best hockey book ever written. What makes this book special is the absence of a ghost writer. Dryden wrote this himself. I enjoyed the layout of the book, with a personal diary of the 1978-79 season interrupted by Dryden's thoughts on certain players or situations. Having followed this team religiously as a teen, it was very interesting to get Dryden's behind the scenes p ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sports fans not familiar with hockey, anyone curious about the inner game of sport.
Everything you ever wanted to know about hockey, from the inside of the goalie mask, arguably the best spot on the ice. His rich descriptions of a period of action, the first intermission and the teammates and coaches who have made his time in the sport so fulfilling are amazing, and I will not dispute that this is the best book ever written about hockey.

Sometimes it comes off as stream-of-consciousness rambling, but Ken Dryden is well-spoken/written enough that it's worth reading, and everythin
John Devlin
Jun 17, 2011 John Devlin rated it it was ok
Touted as the greatest hockey book ever written I jumped eagerly into its pages. Dryden is smart, and delivers many quiet insights on players, positions, and the nature of not just hockey, but what it means to play any sport. With that going for it, I was bored for most of the novel. Dryden's cerebral nature is manifest throughout and his contemplative style stifles much of the excitement one would get from reading a sport's novel. By the end, I was left wondering did Dryden's novel receive such ...more
Jack Blackfelt
May 11, 2010 Jack Blackfelt rated it really liked it
Written just after this hall-of-fame goalie retired at 30 years old, future Canadian MP Ken Dryden describes the psychology of hockey in the 1970s. His observations are alarmingly personal and astute, and he is unafraid to wax socio-political about the young men he shares the entire expectations of a city and its an ethnic minority with - an ethnicity he doesn't belong to. His personality sketches are endearing and his views on the institution of the NHL unflinching. Not just a sports book - a r ...more
Zeb Snyder
Jan 03, 2011 Zeb Snyder rated it it was amazing
This is the best sports book I have ever read. More than a typical jock-tells-anecdotes-for-cash collection, Dryden's memoir is as unusual a sports bio as Dryden was a professional athlete. Dryden is introspective and philosophical, asking questions about himself and the sport that few others would consider, let alone put to page. This is a must-read for every hockey fan, and a great example of how great sports writing can be great writing, full-stop.
Barb Hogan
Jul 02, 2010 Barb Hogan rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book with such insight into not only the game of hockey and it's roots, but also a peek into the mind of a professional athlete. This book is not only interesting and informative, but beautifully written. I completely enjoyed every page of this book and look forward to reading some of Ken Dryden's other books (and I'm not a big non fiction fan)
Nov 03, 2014 Alicia rated it really liked it
it is a superb book. any fan of hockey should read this book.

my only qualms were that sometimes he went on these really long tangents that i forgot what we were talking about.
but other than that this book reaffirmed why I love hockey so much.
Tiah Keever
Apr 25, 2009 Tiah Keever rated it liked it
This isn't the version I read, I have it on hardback, yo.a gift from a Canadian friend, helped school me in hockey of yesteryear, insightful look into the life of one goalie, who was smart on and off the ice, a stand up guy, and concerned about more than just the game. You'll see.
Matthew Klippenstein
Jan 02, 2011 Matthew Klippenstein rated it really liked it
Klein and Reif probably put it best when they referred to this book as the New Testament of hockey books.

First read this shortly after it came out (I was probably about eight): I'd been hospitalized and my father asked me if I wanted anything to read, to pass the time.
Dec 01, 2009 Rickbarna rated it liked it
People said this was the must read book for hockey fans. Follows the Habs through one of their championship seasons during their 70's dynasty. I'd like it better if it were about any other team.
Mar 19, 2015 Jack rated it really liked it
Excellent, with the afterward/update particularly worthwhile.
Jan 19, 2017 Diane rated it really liked it
For fans of hockey (ice variety), this book is a great read. For fans of the Montreal Canadiens from back in their golden years of the 1970s, this book is a must. I don't follow the game anymore but I did back then and Montreal was "my" team. Ken Dryden was the star goalie for the team that won the league championship for most of the years in the 1970s. They were almost unbeatable. They won the Stanley Cup 6 between 1971 and 1979 and it was a great time to be a hockey fan.

Ken Dryden has written
Dylan Brink
Nov 06, 2016 Dylan Brink rated it really liked it
I gave this book four stars out of five for now because I haven’t finished it but I’m enjoying this book right now. I would recommend this to any hockey fan or any sports fan in general. The thing that makes this book so special and interesting is the fact that the author himself lived these events so you know you’re not getting anything fake. He takes you into the locker room and talks about the wild conversations and crazy antics that took place. He takes you into the general manager’s office ...more
Colin McClean
Jan 21, 2017 Colin McClean rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best sports book I've ever read. Insightful, fascinating, honest, passionate and easy to get lost in.
Kevin Drew
Jan 24, 2017 Kevin Drew rated it really liked it
One of the better hockey books out there. Kinda jumps around but has great insight into Ken Dryden, his life and he Game that was.
Jeff Showers
Feb 05, 2017 Jeff Showers rated it it was amazing
Bookworm Smith
You want to get more than a general feel for hockey? Want to dig into every aspect with a microscope, but, in an easy to read way? This is the book.
Dryden takes what you might think is just a hockey story to a completely new level. To the level of literature, in my opinion.

The writing is really is.

Dryden writes from his point of view, the strange view of a goalie. The player who is on the ice the entire game, but, only directly involved in the play for a few minutes. His view is of
Scott Holstad
Dec 25, 2015 Scott Holstad rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Boy, I don’t get it. I really don’t. I’m sure I’ll take some criticism for saying this, but I just don’t understand why Ken Dryden’s The Game is considered by most to be the best hockey book ever written and by Sports Illustrated to be one of the greatest sports books ever written. Hell, I hardly read anything about sports in it! Geez, it’s about Dryden’s family, law school, desire and efforts to pass his bar exams, his disillusionment and boredom with hockey and intense desire to retire after a ...more
Paula Dembeck
Feb 06, 2016 Paula Dembeck rated it it was amazing
This is a thought provoking look at hockey by the former goalie of The Montreal Canadiens. In it Dryden describes his joy in the game as a young boy, his life on the road and in the spotlight. It focuses in particular on the 1978-79 NHL hockey season, his last as a professional player when the team sought its fourth straight Stanley Cup.

In the first three chapters, Dryden discusses the influence of hockey on the players professional and private lives. In their eyes, the days, weeks and years we
Nicholas Rhode
Mar 29, 2015 Nicholas Rhode rated it really liked it
After reading “The Game” by one of the best goalies to ever play the game, Ken Dryden, it gave a new perspective on the game to hockey players who weren’t able to experience this era. Dryden practically runs through his 1978-79 season where him and his team, The Montreal Canadians went on to win one of their record holding 24 Stanley Cups. He does an amazing job going in depth not only as a player, but as a goalie in the NHL at the time. He talks about some of the strains and struggles that it c ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it
You read on the back cover that Ken Dryden's The Game is the greatest hockey memoir ever, but what does that mean?

Dryden looks back on his last season with the Montreal Canadiens, who won six Stanley Cups in eight years. He talks about what it was like to play with Guy Lafleur and what it was like to play against Bobby Orr. He writes about what it's like to be part of one of the greatest teams in the history of the NHL and what it was like to retire from that team on top.

It's not easy being on t
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Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Dryden is a Canadian politician, lawyer, businessman, author, and former NHL goaltender. He is an officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Dryden was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 2004, also serving as a cabinet minister from 2004 to 2006, until losing his seat in the 2011 Canadian federal elections to Conservative Mark Adler.
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“Ya writin’ a book? Hey great. Need some help? Want some of my quips? Hey, we could do it together. We’d quip ’em to death. Give ’em quiplash hee hee hee.” 1 likes
“I feel nothing, I hear nothing, my eyes watch the puck, my body moves—like a goalie moves, like I move; I don’t tell it to move or how to move or where, I don’t know it’s moving, I don’t feel it move—yet it moves. And when my eyes watch the puck, I see things I don’t know I’m seeing. I see Larson and Nedomansky as they come on the ice, I see them away from the puck unthreatening and uninvolved. I see something in the way a shooter holds his stick, in the way his body angles and turns, in the way he’s being checked, in what he’s done before that tells me what he’ll do—and my body moves. I let it move. I trust it and the unconscious mind that moves it.” 1 likes
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