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Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada Paperback – October 1, 1990

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, October 1, 1990
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Editorial Reviews


“The closest thing the game has to a literary masterpiece.”
Sun (Vancouver)

“This book will be the gauge against which future [sports books] will be measured.…And it’s not just a hockey book; it’s a book about Canadians and what makes us tick.”
Leader-Post (Regina)

“The tale of hockey is told like never before. This is the hockey book of the decade, if not the century.”
Telegraph-Journal (Saint John)

“Dryden and MacGregor have penned a tremendous read.…you’ll be moved to take up skating again. Fans of hockey won’t be disappointed and fans of Canadiana shouldn’t miss it.”
Hamilton Spectator

“Go out right now and buy this book.”
Mercury (Guelph)

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

In October 1983 Ken Dryden gave us what was called the best non-fiction book ever written about hockey ? The Game. In that same month Roy MacGregor published what was hailed as the best novel ever written about hockey ? The Last Season. In 1989 these two writers teamed up to write another extraordinary book: inspired by Ken Dryden?s major CBC-TV series on hockey, Home Game takes us all the way from street hockey to the showdowns between Canada and the Soviets.

On publication, Home Game shot to the top of the bestseller lists, establishing itself as must reading for every hockey fan. Not only was this lavish book with over 95 full-colour photographs popular among ordinary Canadians: book reviewers loved it.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771028725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771028724
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,759,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although the title causes Americans of my acquaintance to laugh, this book really does a wonderful job of examining (if not always explaining) what the game of hockey means to Canadians. If you have read "The Game" and thought there was nothing more to be said about hockey and Canada, think again.
Especial highlights are the early sections discussing small-town Saskatchewan and the importance of the rink in drawing the community together; the stories of particular players with NHL dreams; and the memories of members of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series. Phil Esposito, the heart of that team, is not surprisingly the guy with the best stories about what it all meant. The following section about Soviet hockey, which elevates the faceless Russkies into real guys and fellow players, is almost enough to make a Canadian root for them. (Almost.) And the writers' take on their own recreational play, and what it means to them, is illuminating and sort of touching. Once again, as in "The Game," Ken Dryden manages to depict himself as an amazingly inept Hall of Famer, always panicking under pressure and getting in the way of his defensemen -- "I could talk and chew gum at the same time, but breathing did me in." There's no false modesty here, the reader gets the impression that Dryden held himself to impossibly high standards. Still, when he explains that he now plays defense because he has fulfilled his goalie fantasies, and playing defense allows him to have new ones, it's nice to know he still enjoys the game. (And I have to admit, I howled when I got to his dry remark on playing defense and who's responsible when a goal is scored: "I've changed my mind -- it IS always the goalie's fault.
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Format: Paperback
Ken Dryden may best be known as one of the finest netminders in Canadiens history, but in this book he proves himself to be a very astute scholar as well.
"Home Game" tries to explain how important hockey is to Canada and Canadians, but it can't. Nothing can. Hockey is so much a part of the Canadian identity that there can never be a sufficient explanation of it's importance.
We Americans believe that baseball is our national pasttime, and that it is an integral part of our heritage and the growth of our country. But, compared to the role hockey has in the structure of Canada, baseball is merely a lame hobby that Americans play at now and again.
This book, while about a sport, really delves into the soul of a country that has long been seen from outside as not having an identity -- except for cops in red jackets and funny hats, a couple of losers wearing touques and saying "take off, eh?", and big, dumb guys with bad french accents. It gives a glimpse of how the greatest game in the world really defines the collective culture and shared make-up of a nation. Every aspect of Canadian life, whether in major cities like Toronto or small communities like Medicine Hat, is infused by hockey, and similarly the nature of the game is shaped by places like Quebec City and Moosejaw.
To say it is a must for any hockey fan is a gross understatement. The real strength of "Home Game" is how it can make the reader get at least a small understanding of the game, the players, and the country on a gut level.
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Format: Paperback
For those that dream of playing and knowing what hockey means to those involved in the game professionally, this is for you.
Dryden starts off trying to demonstrate the importance of hockey to Canada. He shows just how much the game means to all kinds of people.
The best section is when he focuses on one game between the Habs and the Oilers. He goes into great detail about what happens throughout the day leading up to the game, the lockerroom talks, and the game itself. As a Dallas Stars fan, I like seeing him focus on Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Craig Ludwig, and others.
Dryden then tells the tales of what the series between Canada and the Soviet Union of 72 meant to both nations. You get great background on the Russian hockey program and how different it was.
You get to read the book through the perspective of someone who has been there and someone who cherishes the game. It is very well written and should be on the shelf of every hockey fan.
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Format: Paperback
Ken Dryden's book simply strengthens the popular notion that he is not only one of the greatest goalies ever, he is the smartest man in the game, period. Even though this book is now ten years old, the political commentaries within seem fresh, as do the analysis of the intricasies of not only the actual game (a 1989 game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens is picked apart in breathtaking detail), to the day-to-day activities of a small hockey community, including a look into the life of a struggling NHL prospect (ex-NHLer Kevin Kaminski, late of the North Stars). Most impressive was the best look at the then-recent Wayne Gretzky trade I have seen (and I've seen a lot of them). This isa more than a look into hockey, it is a disection of the country whose identity has been moulded by this game. A must-read for serious hockey fans.
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