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The Game

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  4,920 ratings  ·  266 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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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,920 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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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
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 29, 2009 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.
Dec 19, 2011 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
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bec
Shelves: non-fiction
States on the cover, "The Best Hockey Book Ever Written", and lives up to that - easily one of the better books about all sports. The author was a goalie and law student, and his ideas come across quite clearly. The original subtitle was "a thoughtful and provocative look at a life in hockey", and it is that. Recommended, and for a hockey fan highly recommended.

I picked this up last year in a used book shop in B.C. Having read a fair amount of sports books, mostly baseball related, I was eager t
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
My son and husband are big Habs fans, so this book helped me develop a better understanding of some of the big names they like to throw around. I've also developed enormous respect for Mr. Dryden. He's intelligent and educated, articulate, and of course, an incredible athlete.
James Mcrae
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ken Dryden is a great writer and amazing athlete. This book really gives you a glimpse into all aspects of Hockey. A must read for any sports fan and if you’re a hockey fan you’ll really understand the game better afterwards. The whole book really holds up well to the test of time as well.
Luke Koran
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hockey, favorites
In one of the greatest sports memoirs across any sport, culture, or generation, legendary goaltender Ken Dryden of the 1970s-era Montreal Canadians takes the reader on a fantastic journey through the life and thinking of a hockey player - especially one as educated and well-versed as Dryden is - in the hit 1983 book “The Game.”

As much as “Ball Four” transformed the world of baseball in fascinating tell-all fashion following its publishing in 1970, so does “The Game” shed light on the realm of pr
Scott Holstad
Dec 25, 2015 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
Jul 25, 2011 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
Jan 19, 2017 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
Mar 31, 2014 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden's classic meditation on hockey in the 1970s, when his Montreal Canadiens were the class of the league. Dryden, who actually took time off from the Habs to finish his law degree -- absolutely no one takes sabbaticals in this era -- is a big thinker, and the result is a very intimate look at the game and what makes players tick. No other hockey book has since come close to the greatness of 'The Game.'
Barb Hogan
Jul 02, 2010 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 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 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 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 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 rated it really liked it
Excellent, with the afterward/update particularly worthwhile.
Joshua Vesely
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Game is an autobigraphy written by the former professional ice hockey player Ken Dryden. In this autobiography, Dryden looks back at his years as the starting goalie for the Montreal Canadiens and the events that he dealt with during his career. Dryden tells of ideas and events such as the relationships with his teammates, regular season games, Stanley Cup championships, and the everyday struggles and successes that occured with his hockey club. Although hard to derive from the book, the two ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best sports books I've ever read, and such a lucky browsing discovery. E-browsing, to be exact. I was looking for a book about sports that I could borrow and read on my phone, without having to wait, and I had just been thinking that there are so many baseball books and why aren't there hockey books? The hockey shelf at Barnes and Noble is barely there, while the baseball shelf is extensive. Maybe the hockey shelf is bigger in Canada. But Boston is a big hockey market! Anyway ...more
Spencer Dipper
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the legendary goalie Ken Dryden's novel “The Game”, Ken talks about his career with The Montreal Canadiens. One of the most winning teams in hockey history. This book is a memoir and talks a lot about hockey history. Dryden describes many of his teammates from the Cup winning teams of the 1970's (In Dryden's 8 years with Montreal, he won 6 Stanley Cups). He talks quite a bit about his reasons for retirement. Dryden speaks about how hockey changed over the century since it was first played. He ...more
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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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“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.” 2 likes
“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
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