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The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL

The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League
Written by: Sean McIndoe
Narrated by: Sean McIndoe
Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown, one of hockey's favorite 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 player makes an impossible play, or shatters a longstanding record, or sobs into his first Stanley Cup. The next, everyone's wearing earmuffs, Mr. Rogers has shown up, and guys in yellow raincoats are officiating playoff games while everyone tries to figure out where the league president went. That's just life in the NHL, a league that often can't seem to get out of its own way. No matter how long you've been a hockey fan, you know that sinking feeling that maybe, just maybe, some of the people in charge here don't actually know what they're doing. And at some point, you've probably wondered: Has it always been this way?

The short answer is yes. As for the longer answer, well, that's this audiobook.

In this fun, irreverent, and fact-filled history, Sean McIndoe relates the flip side to the National Hockey League's storied past. His obsessively detailed memory combines with his keen sense for the absurdities that make you shake your head at the league and yet fanatically love the game, allowing you to laugh even when your team is the butt of the joke (and as a life-long Leafs fan, McIndoe takes the brunt of some of his own best zingers). The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL is the weird and wonderful league's story told as only Sean McIndoe can.

©2018 Sean McIndoe (P)2018 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

“Sean McIndoe combines deep knowledge of hockey with the perfect amount of irreverent zaniness. The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL is smart, fun, funny, and incredibly informative. I laughed, I cried, I learned everything a human being could ever hope to know about guys named Newsy.” (Jonah Keri, author of Up, Up, and Away and The Extra 2%)

“This is the book that Sean McIndoe was born to write, if only because the history of the NHL requires heavy doses of skepticism and sarcasm to prevent nausea. Hilarious, insightful and the only hockey book I’ve ever read that can balance a perceptive look at the history of fighting with how Harrison Ford indirectly saved the Colorado Avalanche. It’s like having a guy at the pub giving you a master class in hockey history, except he’s smarter and funnier than your drunk ass will ever be.” (Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer, ESPN)

“On a sunny, summer afternoon from my cottage deck, I picked up Sean McIndoe’s book and could not put it down until I was done reading it. The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL is a delightful read, of course humorous because it’s McIndoe, but impressively informative in finding a way to cram 101 years of NHL hockey into 249 pages. The wonderfully written book is also a reminder that while the NHL is a business, it’s also entertainment, and sometimes we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. We love the game, but let’s remember it’s just that, a game. McIndoe’s historical account entertains and informs all at once.” (Pierre LeBrun, TSN insider and columnist for The Athletic)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

This book brings the majestic stories of old, and ties them seamlessly to the modern age of hockey. It reminds us that the players we watch today will be legends for the years to come.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Listening Again

Informative, fun listen. Hitting play for a second time as soon as I finish writing this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

C’est Bon Goes Sean

My favourite hockey writer writes great books. Who knew?!! Keep it up Sean, love it

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LSmith
  • 2019-01-11

Great and funny book on the NHL

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • 2019-01-03

Entertaining Listen

Any casual fan will find this book entertaining. Even with zero knowledge of the NHL.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TG
  • 2018-12-25

An honest view of the NHL's history

I really liked the way the author mixed in historical facts with the"strange but true" that added a lot of fun to the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kase
  • 2018-10-31

Amazing stories you won't get elsewhere

Chuck full of #GoodPartyTalk when you have a bunch of "know it all" hockey fans that you can tell the story of something beyond the normal headlines or what has been pushed as being important history. Couldn't stop listening, truly a must for hockey nuts.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LSmith
  • 2019-01-11

Great and funny book on the NHL

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • 2019-01-03

Entertaining Listen

Any casual fan will find this book entertaining. Even with zero knowledge of the NHL.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TG
  • 2018-12-25

An honest view of the NHL's history

I really liked the way the author mixed in historical facts with the"strange but true" that added a lot of fun to the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kase
  • 2018-10-31

Amazing stories you won't get elsewhere

Chuck full of #GoodPartyTalk when you have a bunch of "know it all" hockey fans that you can tell the story of something beyond the normal headlines or what has been pushed as being important history. Couldn't stop listening, truly a must for hockey nuts.