The Game by Ken Dryden

The Game by Ken Dryden

“The Game” by Ken Dryden stands out as a seminal work in the world of sports literature. Written by the legendary goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, this book delves deep into the heart of hockey, offering an insightful perspective that transcends the sport itself. Published in 1983, it has been lauded for its eloquent prose and profound reflections on the game.


“The Game” unfolds over a span of a week during Dryden’s final season with the Canadiens. This structure allows for a detailed exploration of the world of professional hockey from an insider’s perspective.

Main Characters

  • Ken Dryden: The narrator and protagonist, Dryden provides a contemplative and insightful view of the game. His reflections cover his career, the life of a professional athlete, and the changing landscape of hockey.
  • Scotty Bowman: The enigmatic coach of the Canadiens, known for his strategic genius and complex personality.
  • Guy Lafleur: One of the star players of the team, representing the glamor and skill of professional hockey.
  • Larry Robinson: A defenseman whose role and personality contrast with the more flamboyant players, offering a grounded perspective.


In-Depth Analysis


“The Game” excels in its narrative style and depth of insight. Dryden’s introspective and articulate voice provides a unique viewpoint, blending personal anecdotes with broader observations about the sport and life.


Some readers might find the book’s detailed descriptions of hockey strategy and locker room dynamics less engaging, particularly if they are not avid hockey fans.


The book breaks the mold of typical sports memoirs by focusing less on personal triumphs and more on a philosophical and cultural examination of the sport.

Literary Devices

Dryden’s use of metaphor and analogy to draw parallels between hockey and life is notable. His reflective tone and narrative pacing contribute to the book’s contemplative quality.

Ken Dryden in full gear, in position for a shot in front of a hockey net.Relation to Broader Issues

Dryden touches on issues such as celebrity culture in sports, the commercialization of hockey, and the psychological toll of professional athletics.

Thematic Analysis

Themes of teamwork, the fleeting nature of athletic prowess, and the impact of commercial interests on sports are explored thoughtfully.

Stylistic Elements

Dryden’s prose is marked by its clarity, introspection, and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible manner.

Comparison with Other Works

“The Game” can be compared to “Open” by Andre Agassi in its introspective and honest portrayal of a sports legend’s life. Both books offer a unique glimpse behind the curtain of professional sports.


Potential Audience

This book is a must-read for hockey enthusiasts, sports historians, and readers interested in memoirs with philosophical depth.

Final Recommendation

Highly recommended for its unique blend of sports narrative and thoughtful reflection. It’s a rare book that appeals both to sports fans and readers interested in the cultural and psychological aspects of athletics.

Potential High School Test Questions with Answers

  1. Question: What is the main theme of “The Game”? Answer: The main theme is the exploration of professional hockey, both as a sport and as a cultural phenomenon, through the lens of Ken Dryden’s career and experiences.

  2. Question: How does Dryden depict Scotty Bowman? Answer: Dryden portrays Bowman as a strategic genius with a complex personality, contributing significantly to the team’s success.


Bibliographic Details:

  • Publisher: Triumph Books (IL)
  • Publish Date: November 01, 2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Dimensions: 6.12 X 8.97 X 0.98 inches | 1.1 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Paperback
  • EAN/UPC: 9781600789618
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The Game by Ken Dryden
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