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The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever Hardcover – October 1, 2012

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for any fan that's seen the NHL reshaped during Bettman's reign" and a "treasure trove of anecdotes."  —Puck Daddy


"An excellent biography."  —Globe and Mail


"I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It was absolute quality."  —Mile High Hockey, the Colorado Avalanche blog on SB Nation

About the Author

Jonathon Gatehouse is a senior correspondent for Maclean’s weekly magazine and was formerly a reporter for the National Post and Montreal’s Gazette. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600788157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600788154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By NYC Reader on December 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying there is a lot of information in this book. It is VERY poorly organized. I was expecting this book to be about how Gary Bettman remade the NHL. Instead it seemed like a collection of short stories about things that happened in the league (that mostly had nothing to do with Bettman). Expectedly, most of them are pats on the back. The rest are stories about how he pitted sponsors against each other, handled the lockouts, and pretty much blackmailed cities by moving franchises.

If you are a huge hockey fan and follow the business side of it, it's worth a skim. Otherwise, skip it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott on January 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Instigator is a rare chance to take a behind the scenes look at Gary Bettman, the man who has run the game for over two decades. The issue with this book is, it seems as if the entire book is based solely off one brief interview the author had with the Commissioner. Bettman is indeed a complicated man, one who always has to have a certain face on in public, but one who must be tough and strict once the cameras are off. Yet there is still the side of him that just loves the sport he runs.

However, this book fails to really capture Bettman. Instead, there are sporadic quotes from the Commissioner and little insight into Bettman himself. The meat of the book is simply a statement of facts and situations that the NHL has found itself in during Bettman's tenure. Most of it you can find on the Internet or in other books. I give the author a lot of credit for a well-researched book, but by the middle of the book, I was skimming and skipping many sections filled with generic information that I already knew.

For a casual hockey fan that does not know a lot about the game, I recommend this book, but if you're a diehard familiar with the nuances of the game, I'd take a pass.

NOTE: I give the author a great deal of credit for uncovering little tidbits about Bettman such as the fact that he wrote his Masters Thesis on the branches of power within a Mafia organization. Draw your own conclusion!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TR on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Gatehouses' book is a quick, must read for all hockey fans. It is a fairly neutral historical depiction of Gary Bettman and his tenure in the NHL. There are some positive things he did and some negative things, but I feel for the most part, Gatehouse tries to pass no judgement. This book, by default focuses on many of the business and economic dealings of the NHL and many hardcore hockey fans will know parts of the stories, but this fills in some of the blanks. I get frustrated with sports-fans and judgments made with their hearts full of rumors and conjecture, it is easy to blame Bettman for the woes of the league, but i think it is important to dig a little deeper and see what is going on off the ice. Some people will continue to hate Bettman, others will hate him a little less, if nothing else, it gave me a better insight into the job of the NHL commissioner. My criticisms are similar to the other reviews- the book isn't very well organized and jumps for topic to topic occasionally with no warning. I recommend this book, especially because it's quick and easy to read and full of information.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despise this commissioner. So any book on Gary Bettman is good reading for me. So nice to find out that this little man is as insecure as they come. Best story was the incident after the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver. But, much to his credit, he maintains the job in spite of the fact I think he has just taken hockey to the basement of the 4 major sports. High revenues does NOT always mean a company is flush with money. And I contend that this is the case with NHL. Really enjoyed this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did have to stop reading every once in a while to share an interesting fact with Twitter, so on the whole I'm glad I read it.

But it's slow in parts, and I kept having to look back to earlier in the book to figure out who was who. At one point Gatehouse mentions a person briefly in an early chapter, then brings him up again over a hundred pages later and expects you to remember who he was.
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By Faulckey on February 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoy the business side of hockey, this is a must read. Love him or hate him, by the end of the book you will have a better understanding of who Gary Bettman really is.
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By jason on October 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it gave good insight to where Bettman came from and what he's trying to do in the NHL today.
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