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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 Canada (Sept. 11 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670065927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670065929
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #235,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
5 of 5 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.
1 of 1 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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Good Nov. 19 2012
By Cameron - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was a pretty informative account of Gary Bettman and his tenure of the league. If you're into hockey and whatnot this should do the trick -- once again very informative -- unlike this review.
Very Insightful Oct. 28 2013
By jason - Published on
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.
Gary Bettman, hockey savior or pariah? Feb. 17 2013
By Steven F. Kowalski - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used my review of Bettman's history as NHL Commissioner for my Leadership Theories class. I found Jonathon Gatehouse's bio to be fair and informative. Great read if you love the game of hockey and want to learn a bit more about the business of hockey.

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