Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Game by Ken Dryden

I finished reading The Game by Ken Dryden. The book was highlighted by Bill Simmons in an article titled "The Sports Book Hall of Fame" on the Grantland.com web site. It is considered by many as the best hockey book ever written and was lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time,

Dryden played goalie for the Montreal Canadians from 1971 to 1979 winning the Stanley Cup six times! Dryden held out one year over a contract dispute and used that year to fulfill the requirements for his law degree. He retired following the 1978-79 season at age 31.

The book is structured as a dairy of his life over the course of the nine days during the last season of his career. While he talks about the games, practices, the locker room and travel, Dryden uses those nine days as a vehicle to explore a wide range of topics including, but not limited to his childhood, his teammates, his coaches, the history of the sport of hockey, the changes to the sport wrought by money and expansion and what hockey means to Canada.

Dryden reflects on his life, his career and the sport of hockey. At times, the book gets very philosophical. Dryden is clearly an unusual athlete; he is very well educated and articulate.

While I may not have liked the book as much as some people, it is a very different sports book. I don't consider myself a hockey fan; I have only seen two San Jose Sharks games in person in my life. Even for the causal hockey fan, the book is worth reading.

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