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The Game

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,876 Ratings  ·  213 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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Aug 11, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jan 28, 2012 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
Feb 11, 2016 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, sports
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
Mar 31, 2014 Nikolai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Yarbrough
Feb 13, 2011 John Yarbrough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt Glaviano
Jan 29, 2008 Matt Glaviano rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  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
John Devlin
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Paula Dembeck
Feb 06, 2016 Paula Dembeck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2015 Scribd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friday-reads
This transition from spring to summer may be the most exhilarating time for sports fanatics. The NBA Finals are on, the Women’s World Cup has begun, and baseball season is in full swing. But most important to me is the Stanley Cup Finals (go Tampa Bay!), and in honor of this strange game where big men stand on tiny blades in an often-artificial remake of a frozen tundra, I decided to finally read the sport’s one true classic, The Game, by six-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Ken Dryden.

The Ga
Nicholas Rhode
Mar 29, 2015 Nicholas Rhode rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steven Howes
Dec 28, 2014 Steven Howes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually shy away from sports-related books but this one caught my eye as I was searching on Amazon for something to read. This book was originally published in 1983 (this was billed as a 30th anniversary edition) and being a long-time hockey fan plus knowing who the author is, I thought I would give it a shot. Ken Dryden is an amazing person let alone an elite athlete. Not only is he a member of The Hockey Hall of Fame, a 6-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Montreal Canadiens (in a seven-year ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Callum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Zeb Snyder
Jan 03, 2011 Zeb Snyder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jack Wolfe
May 20, 2016 Jack Wolfe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've not read enough hockey books to know if "The Game" is truly, as the jacket of my copy promises, "the greatest hockey book of all time" (I read a buncha trivia books as a kid-- they were okay-- and something called "Why is the Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool?," which was fun!), but it certainly seems like it COULD be. I mean...

1. It's written by Ken Dryden... and no one else. Dryden, who played hockey.
2. Dryden, who played hockey very well: good enough to win, like, fifty Stanle
Apr 03, 2015 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, with the afterward/update particularly worthwhile.
Jan 20, 2016 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ken Dryden's The Game is plain and simply a good book. One of the more interesting biographies I've read about a sport that as a kid I loved. Having never played I was the ultimate fan knowing everything and anything about hockey. Besides having thousands of hockey cards I loved tracking stats and playing ball hockey out on the street or even hand ball hockey down in the basement on our knees!

“When you are a presence, there are many things you need not do, for it is simply understood you can do
Barb Hogan
Jul 10, 2010 Barb Hogan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)
Jun 15, 2015 Iain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book shows Dryden has a real talent for writing. At its best it focuses on Dryden's final season, his thoughts on hockey, his teammates, fans and life in professional sport. Dryden is particularly adept at easing into his discussions. He takes us inside the Forum, telling us about its architecture, then the Canadiens' trainer (Palchek). Who's that on the ice an hour before practice playing by himself just for the fun of it? Guy Lafleur. Now Dryden's telling us about Lafleur growing up playi ...more
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.
Jun 27, 2014 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: si-top-100
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
Jan 11, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Louis Levin
Dec 28, 2014 Louis Levin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first review, so I apologize if it isn't up to goodreads standards.

Sports autobiographies tend to be tricky, as athletes often aren't the most apt storytellers, but Ken Dryden isn't most athletes. He was drafted 14th overall out of high school to play in the NHL, but decided to pass and earn a history degree from Cornell (and later went on to become a lawyer and politician). He then went on to become one of the greatest goalies of all time, someone I looked up on the ice being a goal
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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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