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

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 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: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jonathon Gatehouse's “The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever” is a strange hybrid of a book. Not truly a biography, not quite a sports book, and not really a business book, it combines those different non-fiction genres into an informative, easy-to-read book.

The author of this book realizes that in order to understand the game of professional hockey as it exists today, you must understand where it was before the current commissioner took over. In order to understand how Gary Bettman pushed through the things he wanted done, you must understand the man's personality and history. And in order to comprehend the difficulty of doing so, you must understand the former and current structure of NHL ownership, as well as the personalities who did and do make up that exclusive circle. Mr. Gatehouse accomplishes these goals in a book that cannot be “just one type” in order to do its job.

Highly recommended for hockey fans, both the ones who are enjoying the game played today and the ones who lament for “the good old days”.

RATING: 5 stars.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I despise Gary Bettman and while this book does not paint him in a positive light, it does add insight into how he got to the NHL. My rating is for the content. The writing is DEPLORABLE. The presentation, order of stories, and layout was insane. I felt like I forgot my place multiple times when reading. I'm a long time Kings' fan, but also a huge hockey fan in general and the story selection was incredibly odd to me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary Bettman is either loved or hated depending on which side of thje 49th parallel you are living...He kicked and dragged the NHL into the 21st century with expansion he also was the first commissioner in a professional sport to shutdown a season and almost a second...He has tried to take what he leared from the NBA and bring it to hockey and since the second lockout their revenues have syrocketed along with the new Canadian and American TV deals
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