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Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada [Paperback]

Ken Dryden , Roy MacGregor
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2006
Home Game delves into hockey in all its incarnations, from life in a small hockey community and the dreams of amateurs determined to reach the NHL to the reminiscences of players involved in the 1972 Canada-Soviet series. By exploring hockey’s significance to our nation, Dryden and MacGregor help to define what it means to be Canadian.

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A worthy successor to Ken Dryden's classic The Game, Home Game looks at hockey from a multitude of angles to show how the sport is transformed as it moves from its rural roots to the glitz of Hollywood. Hall of Famer Dryden and cowriter Roy MacGregor take on the game in all its guises, from a Praries community centered on the town rink to peewee hockey players and their parents in Toronto, from the dressing rooms of the Oilers and Canadiens to the Canada-Soviet rivalry. One chapter stands as the definitive examination of the Wayne Gretzky trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles, a parable of modern economics. Dryden and MacGregor closely examine the clash between the personal loyalties and business enterprises of the trade's principals; it's a measure of the book's thoughtfulness that the reader comes to understand and empathize with all sides of the issue.

Faces have changed across the sport since Home Game was first published in 1989, but much of the material remains relevant. MacGregor, author of the fine novels Canoe Lake and The Last Season, provides a poignant coda to the book in his description of playing in an old-timers league, where, just as in the youth leagues, hockey is still all that matters on gameday. --David Gowdey --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“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.

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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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5.0 out of 5 stars this book is great Sept. 10 2003
I can see why Canadians love there game so much through this group of essays they are very interesting I wish americans loved hockey as much as the Canadians do then I wouldn't be the only hockey fan I know
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"So what can a 10-year-old book on ice hockey really teach me about the sport and Canada?" I wondered as I started Home Game. The answer is pretty much everything. Dryden, who writes in a delightfully unhurried style, takes us through the game as it is played by enthusiastic amateurs, by teenagers desperate to break into the NHL and by the professionals themselves. And by probing how hockey took root here, Dryden provides the best analysis of what it means to be Canadian that I have ever read. My job in Ottawa is to explain Canada to the outside world and of all the tomes I have read so far, this must be the most illuminating. Rarely do you come across a book which so clearly explains what fires the soul of a country. Buy it now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The soul of Canada exemplified Nov. 29 1999
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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