Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Sports & Recreation Hockey

Home Game

Hockey and Life in Canada

by (author) Ken Dryden & Roy MacGregor

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Aug 2006
Hockey, Sociology of Sports, Canadian Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2006
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


In October 1983 Ken Dryden gave us what was called the best non-fiction book ever written about hockey: The Game. In that same month Roy MacGregor published what was hailed as the best novel ever written about hockey: The Last Season. These two writers teamed up to write another extraordinary book.

Inspired by Ken Dryden’s major CBC-TV series on hockey, Home Game delves into hockey in all its incarnations, from life in a small hockey community and the dreams of amateurs determined to reach the NHL to the reminiscences of players involved in the 1972 Canada-Soviet series. By exploring hockey’s significance to our nation, Dryden and MacGregor help to define what it means to be Canadian.

On publication, Home Game shot to the top of the bestseller lists, establishing itself as a must-read for every hockey fan. The lavish book, with nearly 100 full-colour photographs, continues to win over Canadians.

About the authors

Ken Dryden is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and is widely recognized as one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. During Dryden’s eight seasons in goal, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup six times, and Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy, Calder Cup and Vezina trophy six times. A graduate of Cornell University and, in law, McGill University, he is the author of three other books, Home Game, The Moved and the Shaken and In School. Ken served as a member of parliament, including as a cabinet minister, and was recently inducted into the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto.

Ken Dryden's profile page

In the fall of 2006, Roy MacGregor, veteran newspaperman, magazine writer, and author of books, came to campus. Since 2002, MacGregor had been writing columns for the Globe and Mail, but he had a long and distinguished career in hand before he came to the national newspaper. He has won National Newspaper Awards and in 2005 was named an officer in the Order of Canada. He is the author of more than 40 books — 28 of them in the internationally successful Screech Owls mystery series for young readers — on subjects ranging from Canada, to the James Bay Cree, to hockey. That fall, he spoke to a packed room in the St. Thomas chapel. After the lecture, Herménégilde Chiasson, the Acadian poet, artist, and New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor of the day, hosted a reception at the majestic Old Government House on the banks of the St. John River. MacGregor spent the evening surrounded by young journalists and the conversation continued late into the night. After all, there were more than three decades of stories to tell.

Roy MacGregor's profile page

Excerpt: Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (by (author) Ken Dryden & Roy MacGregor)

The fans count down the final seconds. On the bench of the Edmonton Oilers, the players, all standing, hug and laugh and pump their arms in the air. The Stanley Cup is won.

It is the fourth time in five years. But after living through a season of doubts, when to others and sometimes even to themselves they seemed no longer the best, this 1988 Stanley Cup may be for them the sweetest. It is as plain on their dead-white faces as in their incandescent eyes. They have gone through much to get here, and now they feel all the world’s relief, release, and pleasure at having made it. And so do their fans. As the clock melts away, they sing down louder and louder each joyous number.

Wayne Gretzky, their leader, accepts the Stanley Cup, and with a child’s enormous grin he raises it above his head. The fans roar once more. His teammates join round and together they begin their many laps or honour. Like prehistoric men back from the hunt, they display their shimmering prize, passing it from outstretched arms to outstretched arms, sharing it happily, generously, with each other and with their fans.

It is the pinnacle moment for any team. When they came together eight months ago they had one goal — to win a Stanley Cup. They placed themselves in the powerful, yet vulnerable hands of each other. They worked hard and played hard. Sometimes they were weak and selfish. Many times, they forgot the team and went out in search of their own rewards. But only one thing was going to leave them happy. And eight months later, they got it.

They are probably too young to know how rare it is to set out after something and achieve it. Still, in the way the contort their bodies, acting out the feeling that is too big to keep inside, they know they are part of something special.

It is the only moment in a season when there is more than enough for everyone to share, when there is no temptation to pull on the blanket to take more for yourself. Gretzky hands over the prize to Mark Messier, and Messier to Kevin Lowe, and on and on, each new person greeting the Cup with a whoop and a holler to the true delight of the rest. Everyon gives, everyone shares. It is the best of moments.

Oilers’ owner Peter Pocklington works down closer to the ice. From this series he will earn many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gretzky himself will earn thousands more from NHL and team bonuses. Oilers’ fans have paid higher ticket prices to watch these playoff games, but in return they have seen their remarkable team win. Everyone has given as good as he’s got. There is no resentment, no bitterness, no other agenda. At this one moment, the business of sport does not exist. Anything other than the game has evaporated.

Editorial Reviews

“The closest thing the game has to a literary masterpiece.” —Vancouver Sun

“This book will be the gauge against which future [sports books] will be measured. . . . And it’s not just a hockey book; it’s a book about Canadians and what makes us tick.” Regina Leader-Post

“The tale of hockey is told like never before. This is the hockey book of the decade, if not the century.” —Telegraph-Journal (Saint John)

“Dryden and MacGregor have penned a tremendous read. . . . You’ll be moved to take up skating again. Fans of hockey won’t be disappointed and fans of Canadiana shouldn’t miss it.” —Hamilton Spectator

“Go out right now and buy this book.” —Guelph Mercury

Other titles by

Other titles by

Related lists