The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL: The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League

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Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown , one of hockey's favourite and funniest writers, takes aim at the game's most memorable moments--especially if they're memorable for the wrong reasons--in this warts-and-all history of the NHL. The NHL is, indisputably, weird. One moment, you're in awe of the speed, skill and intensity that define the sport, shaking your head as a playe...

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Title:The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL: The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League
Author:Sean McIndoe
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL: The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League Reviews

  • Katherine

    I've been a fan of Sean McIndoe's since the Grantland days, and I've always loved his various columns. He has a great talent of mixing informative writing with a dry sense of humor. You can tell that he's a fan of the game.

    This is an overall history of the sport, staring with the embryonic pre-days, and all the way up through the 2017-2018 season. The first part of the book is well written, but almost felt like it was missing the humor a little bit, except in the interlude sections. It picked up

    I've been a fan of Sean McIndoe's since the Grantland days, and I've always loved his various columns. He has a great talent of mixing informative writing with a dry sense of humor. You can tell that he's a fan of the game.

    This is an overall history of the sport, staring with the embryonic pre-days, and all the way up through the 2017-2018 season. The first part of the book is well written, but almost felt like it was missing the humor a little bit, except in the interlude sections. It picked up quite well one we got to the later decades, with a lot of the fun asides and random trivia bits I've come to expect from the author.

    There's something for everyone here, whether you're a relatively recent fan (like me,) a complete newbie, or someone who has been following the sport for years. Everything from the Summit Series to the Vegas outdoor game to The Trade, it's all covered.

    I really enjoyed chapters that covered things like the history of labor relations and fighting. It's good to not flinch away from controversial topics, and I really thought the author's opinions were well presented.

    I found myself chuckling and outright laughing throughout this book, which is one of my most highlighted. Thanks Sean, for putting out a really entertaining book about hockey.

  • Brandon

    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 conc

    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.

  • Andrew Langert

    Don’t be deceived by the title of this book. It is not a dry history of the NHL. If you don’t know who Down Goes Brown is (Sean McIndoe), you will want to subscribe to The Athletic after you read this book so that you can get a dose of him 2-3 times per week.

    This is the history of the NHL, as told through the viewpoint of Down Goes Brown (DGB). It is not a comprehensive history of the league, it’s teams or its players. Instead it is a collection of anecdotes that cover the history of the league.

    Don’t be deceived by the title of this book. It is not a dry history of the NHL. If you don’t know who Down Goes Brown is (Sean McIndoe), you will want to subscribe to The Athletic after you read this book so that you can get a dose of him 2-3 times per week.

    This is the history of the NHL, as told through the viewpoint of Down Goes Brown (DGB). It is not a comprehensive history of the league, it’s teams or its players. Instead it is a collection of anecdotes that cover the history of the league. DGB may have covered the most historically significant events, but he most surely covered the most amusing and sometimes hilarious events. Each chapter seems like a set-up where the league does something unfathomable to one degree or another, allowing DGB to supply the laughs with his deadpan humor and snark.

    The emphasis is on off-ice history. In his everyday work, DGB is one of the NHL’s harshest critics despite his love of the game (and the Toronto Maple Leafs). This book points out the shortcomings of league management throughout its history.

    This is only 250 pages long, so it misses a few things. One of these being: where does the name Down Goes Brown come from and mean?

    There is no better or funnier sportswriter than Sean McIndoe. Hockey fans need to read this book and his work on The Athletic, When he joined The Athletic, that’s when I subscribed.

  • Ken Heard

    This one takes the biscuit to the basket as the best hockey history book out there. Ya betcha.

    If you want a basic history tome, forget. Fans of the sport know enough of its history to cover a basic course. This one, though, presents quirky, little-known stuff about hockey. Odd trades, expansion ideas, strange players, things like that.

    One of the better lines in this well-written book was about the 1991 fight between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks called the "St. Patrick's Day Mas

    This one takes the biscuit to the basket as the best hockey history book out there. Ya betcha.

    If you want a basic history tome, forget. Fans of the sport know enough of its history to cover a basic course. This one, though, presents quirky, little-known stuff about hockey. Odd trades, expansion ideas, strange players, things like that.

    One of the better lines in this well-written book was about the 1991 fight between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks called the "St. Patrick's Day Massacre." McIndoe said to be sure not to confuse that with the 1984 "Good Friday Massacre" between Quebec and Montreal. "The NHL," he wrote. "The only sport where you make reference to holiday-themed massacre and you have to ask to be more specific."

    This is a fun, well researched book that covers the entire span of the NHL. From stadiums burning down to Gretzky's reign, to the high-scoring 1990s to the streamlined era of today. It has it all. A definite must for any hockey fan. Eh?

  • Lance

    Having just recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, the National Hockey League (NHL) has had an interesting and colorful history. Sean McIndoe, also known as “Down Goes Brown” with his popular hockey blog, writes and narrates an excellent book on this history, highlighting some of the more strange moments.

    While the book follows the history of the league in a chronological format, that is about the only thing that is “regular” about this book. Sure, the reader will learn about the origins of t

    Having just recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, the National Hockey League (NHL) has had an interesting and colorful history. Sean McIndoe, also known as “Down Goes Brown” with his popular hockey blog, writes and narrates an excellent book on this history, highlighting some of the more strange moments.

    While the book follows the history of the league in a chronological format, that is about the only thing that is “regular” about this book. Sure, the reader will learn about the origins of the league and how it began with four teams, nearly folded when it was down to three, the Original Six era (which nearly became the Original Seven in the early 1950’s when the league nearly added the Cleveland Barons), the Great Expansion of 1967 and the future expansions to the current league of 31 teams.

    There is also mention of equipment, great players of each era, the styles of play from the wide open offenses of the 1980’s to the trap defensive style made popular by the surprise Stanley Cup championship of the New Jersey Devils in 1995. BUT…and this is a big BUT…this type of writing is not what sets this book apart from the rest.

    What DOES make it memorable and one that every hockey fan should read, whether or not they know about “Down Goes Brown”, are the quirky stories that fill every chapter and also serve as a segue between each chapter. Most likely, many fans have not heard about these occurrences or near-occurrences in the league’s history. One of my favorites occurred in 1970 when two new teams, the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, entered the league. One of them would be able to get the first pick in the entry draft. The best player in the draft that year was Gilbert Perrault by far and away. So, to try to be fair, the league decided to use a wheel with various numbered slots to determine which team gets the pick – each team had an equal number of slots. But how to determine who spins? Well, that was easy – flip a coin. Now, you may ask, why didn’t they just use that coin flip for the pick? As the book notes time and time again, this is the NHL – they don’t do anything the easy way. For the record, the Sabres won the pick and Perrault enjoyed a Hall of Fame career playing 18 seasons in Buffalo.

    This was just one of the many crazy stories told with humor (mostly – the discussion on the violence in the sport certainly was not). For a funny line, try this on for size – but first a little background. In 1984, the Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Noridques had a huge brawl that became known as the Good Friday Massacre. Then in 1991, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues had a similar melee known as the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre. They got their monikers because of the holidays on which these took place. McIndoe wrote the “The NHL – the only sport where you make reference to a holiday-themed massacre and you have to ask to be more specific.”

    This book is a must-read for all hockey fans no matter their interest level or their favorite teams or eras. Very entertaining, very easy to read and informative as well, it is one that is sure to be added to many hockey libraries.

  • Matt

    In the craziness that is the National Hockey League (NHL), even diehard fans can only retain so much information outside the regular statistics that help fuel the best fantasy hockey picks. Sean McIndoe provides readers with a detailed history of the NHL, though chooses not to recount many of the better-known aspects. Instead, he regales the reader with little-known (or long forgotten) facts that helped fuel many of the League’s successes and downfalls. From a collection of teams that had a labo

    In the craziness that is the National Hockey League (NHL), even diehard fans can only retain so much information outside the regular statistics that help fuel the best fantasy hockey picks. Sean McIndoe provides readers with a detailed history of the NHL, though chooses not to recount many of the better-known aspects. Instead, he regales the reader with little-known (or long forgotten) facts that helped fuel many of the League’s successes and downfalls. From a collection of teams that had a labour dispute an hour before the first puck-drop through to teams and players trying to make precedents with contracts and trade, while also including the details around all of the League’s expansions, McIndoe illustrates that the NHL was not always a multi-billion dollar business. Its decisions were rarely rational when it came to simple choices (the spinning wheel to decide whether Buffalo or Vancouver should get the first pick in the expansion draft), but always intriguing to the curious fan. This League that has been around for over a century has seen its fair share of drama, gaffes, and moments that are buried in the history books, but it is also one that fans can enjoy. McIndoe simply seeks to entertain those who love the game with the lighter side of events. Recommended for those who love hockey and enjoy learning about the nuances that have made the game what it is today, even if that means hearing about Gary Bettman and all his apparent achievements.

    When I noticed this book had been published, I wanted to give it a try. Being a lifelong NHL fan, as well as someone who enjoys history, I could not pass up the opportunity. McIndoe offers not only a glimpse into the creation of the League, but also discovers some of the trivia-worthy pieces of information that made me enjoy it all the more. From little known skirmishes to blockbuster trades that never saw the light of day, McIndoe has used a great deal of time, culling the history books, to find the perfect collection of vignettes to educate and entertain the reader in equal measure. I would likely still have wanted to read the book had it been one thousand pages, as McIndoe writes so seamlessly and keeps the reader enthralled with both stories and rules that have been dusted off after rarely being used. Hockey would not be the same without its bumps and bruises, though I would not have it any other way!

    Kudos, Mr. McIndoe, for this masterful collection. I hope other hockey fans will find it as amusing as I did!

    Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

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  • Shawn

    As a hockey fan this was hard to put down, plenty of odd facts along the way

  • Phil Boyd

    Good story telling of the history of the NHL.

  • Colin Gooding

    @DownGoesBrown is one of my favorite Twitter follows, he's clever and quick to react to breaking stories in the NHL. So I bought this in part just as a way to support someone who's given me tons of free entertainment.

    The book was good, but it didn't live up to what I expected from him. There are some neat stories here and a few good jokes, but nothing overly memorable.

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