Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thirty Years of "The Game"

Thirty years ago, in 1983, former Habs goaltender Ken Dryden published a book. It was marketed as a hockey book, but it became much, much more than that. It became a Canadian classic that reaches far beyond the boundaries of sport. Today, there's a brand-new addition of the book in stores to mark its milestone anniversary, and new fans are discovering the 1970s Canadiens dynasty.

I first read "The Game" about five years after its publication, but nine years after Dryden hung up his skates. I never got to see him play, or witness one of the best teams ever in its prime. Through the book, however, I felt like I did. I also learned a lot about politics, team dynamics, psychology and the elements of success.

Since that first read, I've gone back to the book many times, and I always find something new in it. Dryden doesn't claim to be a prophet, but many of the things he wrote thirty years ago are still relevant; some of them even more than they were back then. I wanted to learn more about how the book came to be, and why people have always been able to find a copy of it on bookstore shelves since its publication, so I called Dryden to talk about it.

That led to a documentary for CBC Radio, which I've linked here for those interested in listening. Dryden is retired since 1979, but the book is still fresh and interesting 30 years later. We're lucky to have it.


soperman said...

I have three copies of the book, one is the 20th or 25th anniversary edition - I am not sure cause I haven't looked at it for five (or ten) years. It is down at the cottage in the loft by my grandson's bed. Someday he will appreciate it (i hope).

I was twelve when Dryden lead the Habs to a cup as a callup rookie - he was still classified as a rookie in the following season. Like the kids in the book, my life centered around what the Habs did.


Steve said...

My favorite Habs book is Lions in the Winter, its why I grew up in a leaf family but am a Habs fan. The Game was a much better book, and why did the Liberals not choose Ken as leader.

Woodvid said...

So great that you got to interview Dryden. I will have to check out the documentary when I get a chance.

The late seventies Habs for me were like the Patrick Roy Habs were for you. They are what got me into hockey. The late 70s teams were in class of their own, both in skill and in, well, class. (Only 8 losses in '77, if I recall!) For me, as a kid, they were the real-life superheroes who defeated the evil Flyers and restored hockey to greatness. Not to be all "back in MY day...," but I miss those days.

Woodvid said...

Just listened to the documentary -- enjoyed it very much.