Sean McIndoe, the man behind the often hilarious hockey blog Down Goes Brown, presents an abridged account of the National Hockey League over its one hundred year history.
If you’re looking for an intricately detailed history of the NHL, you’re probably going to be disappointed. However, that’s not what this is. You can’t expect a guy to cram a century of comprehensive information into a book fewer than 250 pages long. Hell, there are longer books written about a single decade! Instead, Sean concentrates on the weirder and wilder moments that make up the previous 100 years.
McIndoe spends the majority of his time poking fun at the NHL and its often head-scratching decisions. Everything from the league’s early days and its first attempt at expansion in the late 1960s/early 1970s; an event that saw Vancouver playing in the Eastern conference and Atlanta playing in the Western conference (because geography is hard, apparently). After that we get stories about the rough-and-tumble 70s where hard-hitting was the name of the game followed by the rise of the ultra-skilled players of the 1980s. Remember the time the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, Peter Pocklington, traded the greatest player of all time in Wayne Gretzky? That wasn’t even the most insane trade he considered – a handshake deal between Leafs owner, Harold Ballard, nearly saw the entire two teams swap cities. Unfortunately for Toronto, that never came to fruition. From there, you go through the powerful point-producing players of the early 90s (today’s top point-getters can’t hold a candle to the unstoppable forces of yesteryear) all the way up to the defensive-minded teams of the 00s.
The above just scratches the surface. From casual to hardcore, Down Goes Brown’s History of the NHL is the perfect hockey book for both. I have a hard time imaging that fans of either couldn’t breeze through this book in a few sittings.