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

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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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 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,506 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.

Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

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Top 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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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) HASH(0xa4762228) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f8a744) out of 5 stars 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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f8a798) out of 5 stars 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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f8aa74) out of 5 stars 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f8af9c) out of 5 stars Great Content- Terrible Writer Aug. 7 2015
By Erin T. - Published on
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.
HASH(0xa7f8a858) out of 5 stars An Informative Read Jan. 23 2016
By Andrew Kuligowski - Published on
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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