The Game
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The Game

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  2,555 ratings  ·  166 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
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Published December 10th 2009 by John Wiley & Sons (first published October 1st 1983)
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Sarah
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...more
Vicki
"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...more
Nikolai
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...more
Tim
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 fit...more
David
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...more
John Yarbrough
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
Matt Glaviano
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
Jeff
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
Dave
Oct 16, 2008 Dave rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Dev
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
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
Callum

Do you want to learn more about the game of hockey, and learn more about what it really feels like to be a professional hockey player? This book is for you then and you will very much enjoy it. Ken Dryden was one of the best goalies of his time, on one of the greatest teams of all time, and yet this portrayal of a year in the life of that team is much more than "team wins hockey games, gets Stanley Cup." It is much more then that. Each chapter is consecutively entitled after each day (Monday, Tu...more
Dan
I absolutely agree with all of the reviews on this book. This is the best hockey book ever written, plain and simple. I got so into it. After reading his book, it made me look at Dryden in a completely different way. He’s a winner, a true aficionado of sports and politics. I really hope he becomes the Liberal leader in the future.

I’m somewhat disheartened, mostly because I know that the next hockey book I pick up will not match the brilliance that is found in this book
Zeb Snyder
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
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)
Adam
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.
Antoine Brochu
Ken Dryden is a very interesting man. He was a professional athlete, he was part of the parliament and he was a lawyer. He also happened to write one of the best hockey books ever written. The Game by Ken Dryden brings to you an in depth description on some of his great teammates and of some of the best hockey players to have played the game (Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson and Scotty Bowman). In this easy to read sports book, Dryden outlines the struggles, commitment and pressure it takes to be a p...more
Tiah Keever
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
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.
Caitlin
I don't usually pay attention to the blurbs on the book covers since they're so often meaningless but I will definitely agree that this is easily the best book on hockey and a fantastic sports memoir as well! It is written by Ken Dryden, who goaltended for the Montreal Canadiens from 1971-79 and helped them win the Stanley Cup six times. Dryden's thoughts are arranged around the last week of his final playoffs before retiring in '79. This is great because it lets you see how the Canadiens worked...more
Rickbarna
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.
Brad Kane
Ken Dryden was a professional goalie for the Montreal Canadians. He talks about some of his teammates some of the best in the game, such as Guy Lafleur, Scotty Bowman, and Larry Robinson. this book is about the struggles of being a professional athlete. Ken Dryden talks about 4 Stanley cups he won with the Montreal Canadians and about his teammates with all the pranks they pulled on each other. In the end of the book Dryden talks about the stuff in his life that he missed out on since he was a c...more
Ryan
Earlier this year I read Sean Pronger's "Journeyman" and, although I enjoyed his story, really wished that it had been written by a non-player. I found the writing to be a little too simple and informal.

Ken Dryden's "The Game" suffers from a very different problem. A trained lawyer and politician, Dryden can sometimes stay on a single topic for too long, allowing his writing to become bogged down by too many details. While I genuinely loved how he romanticized the game (which is truly near and d...more
Brett Bohan

Ken Dryden, former all-star goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, allows readers to look into the life of a professional hockey player. His book The Game takes place over a week and two days as he recounts his thoughts and memories of his final NHL season in 1979. The story follows the Montreal Canadiens as they play a schedule that doesn’t actually exist but must be a piecing together of games from different weeks. This is likely so that he can say everything he would like to say. Dryden gives...more
Jason
This review was originally published at http://www.puckedinthehead.com/last-m....



More than a few people have called this the single best sports book ever written. Not that I’ve read all the competition, but count me among ‘em. Dryden, of course, was the Stanley Cup-winning, Conn Smythe-winning, Calder Trophy-winning, Vezina Trophy-winning, law degree-getting goaltender behind the Montreal Canadiens dynasty in the 1970s.

He published this thoughtful volume in 1983, but 29 years later, The Game sti...more
Andrew
Widely hailed as one of the best sports books (if not the best) ever, I had been holding off on reading The Game for years for fear that it would not live up to the hype and because I am not much of a hockey fan. Neither turned out to be a valid concern.

Calling The Game one of the best sports books ever sells it short as it is about so much more than hockey or sports generally. Dryden's life is an amazing story - a Hall of Fame goalie (he was on 6 Stanley Cup winning teams in an 8 year career t...more
Derek
Apr 23, 2010 Derek rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in hockey or learning more about what "the game" is really about
Recommended to Derek by: Barnes & Noble (and my dad)
I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. It is an excellent, thoughtful, and provocative book about hockey and the sporting life writ large. It becomes something more than just a 'sports book'; quickly you realize this is more a treatise or philosophy on life through the eyes of a goalie mask. Dryden explores his innermost thoughts and feelings on the game, along with his fellow Canadiens' players and provides insight into things far beyond the general reckoning of hockey or sport. The only thin...more
Adamw
The Game is a novel written by a former NHL goalie. This novel takes place in the last season of Ken Dryden's hall of fame career. The whole novel centers around him reflecting on his career and the people that are around him. This is a great perspective, and one that not many people get to see. I enjoyed this because, it gave us a look inside the author's thoughts. It allowed me to gain a more personal relationship with the author, just through reading his work.

Throughout this novel, Ken Dryden...more
Ryan
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...more
Sylvied
The comment on the cover of this book calls it "The best hockey book ever written". I expect it is probably right, although I have not read many other hockey books and may not qualify as a hockey fan to some minds.

To me, Dryden's memoir was about far more than hockey. With playing goal for the Habs as his backdrop, Dryden shares a snapshot of Canadian history and contemplates the identity issues faced by a pro-hockey player in a country where hockey was once described by Douglas Coupland as bein...more
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Hockey Twitter Bo...: * [Current Group Book] The Game 13 22 Jul 28, 2014 08:41AM  
CBC Books: The Game by Ken Dryden discussion 1 16 Nov 24, 2011 11:58AM  
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“For there is a life there, and in destiny and romance there is no room for life. Painted as they are with broad brush strokes, vivid and lush, they find shape and pattern only with distance. The person who lives them is too close. He feels sweat as well as triumph. He understands what others see, but feels none of it himself” 0 likes
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