Road Games: A Year in the Life of the NHL


321 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-921912-70-6
DDC 796.962'64




Reviewed by Glynn A. Leyshon

Glynn A. Leyshon is a professor of physical education at the University
of Western Ontario, a former weekly columnist for the London Free Press,
and author of 18 Sporting Stories.


While this book tells the story of the 1992 second coming—of the
revived Ottawa Senators, that is—it has woven through it some
wonderful insights into the people and their machinations in the
National Hockey League. MacGregor includes chapters, for example, on the
Senators’ enforcer, Mike Peluso, and then delves into the history of
violence in the NHL dating back to the turn of the century, when a
Cornwall player was killed by a blow from a stick. His incisive
detailing of the issue of violence and its tacit (or sometimes
not-so-tacit) condonement by the team owners leads the reader to his own
conclusion. The violence is acceptable because the games are played to
92-percent-capacity arenas. Even the hockey pundit Don Cherry is shown
to have a significant influence on the maintenance of this repugnant
aspect of a very exciting game.

The chapters on superstars (of which the woeful Senators had none), on
the draft, on the coaches, and on the Europeans are equally
insightful—perhaps because the author is actually a political writer
and came to the task with a clear and unbiased approach (something that
a conventional sports writer may have been unable to achieve).

This is definitely not a standard sport book given to clichés and
thrilling accounts. It is a fascinating read that explains in clear
detail how hockey operates.


MacGregor, Roy., “Road Games: A Year in the Life of the NHL,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 1, 2023,