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The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade The League And Changed The Game Forever Hardcover – Sep 11 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (Sept. 11 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670065927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670065929
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Jonathon Gatehouse is a senior correspondent for Maclean’s magazine and was formerly a reporter for the National Post and Montreal’s Gazette. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children, plays hockey three times a week, and has a dog named Wendel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Going into this book I was very much in the anti-Bettman camp as a hockey fan. However, this book was recommended to me as giving a new perspective on his tenure as Commissioner. This was very accurate.

The book gives an idea of why he did some of the things he did and shows his decisions in a context I had never before considered. It shows how hard the guy works and that, in the end, he wants the hockey business to grow. And that's where I think the trouble comes with the perception of Bettman. We want it treated as a game, his job is to treat it as a business.

I found the anecdotes interesting and felt it was a generally balanced voice used throughout.
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By Joe Flavel on Aug. 7 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an unbiased examination of a very polarizing figure in Canada. A very comprehensive look at a his career from his hiring to what the future may hold. Well worth the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Good insights into strategy, operation, relationship among owners, media and fan views of NHL as a business. An easy, enjoyable read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Very informative, but a poorly written book Dec 14 2012
By NYC Reader - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very Informative, But Poorly Written Jan. 5 2013
By Scott - Published on
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!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
quick, informative read. Make up your own mind Jan. 27 2013
By TR - Published on
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.
So any book on Gary Bettman is good reading for me July 22 2015
By Sryan - Published on
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.
Gary Bettman is either loved or hated depending on which side of thje 49th ... Nov. 4 2015
By Evan Meyer - Published on
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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