Read The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL by Ross Bernstein Marty McSorley Tony Twist Online


For decades, hockey crowds have been brought to their feet for one of the most exciting aspects of NHL games—the fights. The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL by Ross Bernstein takes you in-depth and behind the scenes to explore the history of fighting during hockey games and the honor system behind it. More than 50 NHL players, coaches, anFor decades, hockey crowds have been brought to their feet for one of the most exciting aspects of NHL games—the fights. The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL by Ross Bernstein takes you in-depth and behind the scenes to explore the history of fighting during hockey games and the honor system behind it. More than 50 NHL players, coaches, and media personalities were interviewed to examine how players go about their business during a fight on the ice. They explain why fighting is allowed and what tactics are used before, during, and after the melees. The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL discusses the top reasons why the gloves come off during hockey games....

Title : The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL
Author :
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ISBN : 9781572437562
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL Reviews

  • April
    2019-11-24 12:43

    All right, this is probably going to be long and ugly. By the time I got to about 35% of this book (I was reading a Kindle edition), I could tell that I wasn't going to enjoy it. Bernstein and I have diametrically opposed views of the place and purpose of fighting in hockey, and Bernstein's pedantic repetition of the same-old "policeman" argument with little derivation throughout the course of the entire book got old fast. Honestly, the thought of writing this review was the only thing that got me through the last 20% of this sorry excuse for a published work.Let me start off by noting that this was written about ten years ago now, in the aftermath of the 2004-05 lockout, and Bernstein basically admits that the premise of it is the valorization of fighting and the goon very early on. He makes no effort to hide his one-sided point of view, and indeed makes barely any effort to include other points of view when it comes to fighting. (When he does actually manage to do so, it's not without using such descriptors as "tree-huggers" for people who don't agree with fighting in the NHL and "pussies" for players who don't want to fight. To me, the former is ridiculous, and the latter is downright unacceptable.) This book, or at least the Kindle edition, could have greatly benefitted from a copy-editor as well. The formatting was fucking awful. Whole sections, the means by which Bernstein chose to divide his chapters, started at the end of pages of the previous chapter: the heading for the new section, a couple of lines of text that continued onto a mostly empty page when you flipped over. It was amateurish and looked ridiculous. Which doesn't even take into account the ridiculous errors in this that I assume mean no copy-editor worth their pay went over it. The rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames, for example, is varingly referred to as the Battle of Ontario and the Battle of Alberta when anyone with a map of North America should be able to consistently locate those two cities in Alberta. (Ontario is 2 fucking provinces over.) Likewise, when talking about Major Junior, a subject on which Bernstein clearly has no experience or knowledge, he talks about kids riding the bus from Thunder Bay to Moncton immediately after introducing the three leagues that make up Major Junior. (For the record, Thunder Bay, if it had a team, would be located in the OHL while Moncton's team is located in the QMJHL, and these teams would no more play each other than an NHL team would get on a boat to go play a KHL team.) Bernstein makes himself look idiotic to anyone who actually knows anything about hockey when he makes mistakes like these. Also, I would stay at least 40% of this book by volume is Bernstein employing block quotes from other people who support his point of view, mostly (then) enforcers in the NHL or enforcers who were already retired by the time this book came out. I got so tired of flipping through literal pages of block text quotes that my eyes started to cross. At one point, I believe, there was a single bltock quote from Marty McSorley that was over 3 pages. If Bernstein wanted to write a book about the subject, my feeling is that he should have written a book and not thrown a bunch of pull quotes onto a page. While that is certainly a skill, it was not the point of this endeavour as far as I could tell. I remain unclear as to what the point of this endeavour was, however, or how this piece of absolute garbage got published. With all that said, I guess I can move in to critiquing the heart of Bernstein's argument, which is essentially two-fold: 1) fighting makes hockey a safer game, and 2) it makes money. It must first be said that I'm coming at this with ten more years of evidence than Bernstein, so the comparisons I make may not always be 100% fair to him. I just don't care because this book was just a piece of toxic tripe that only so many allowances can be made.Bernstein argues that it's the job of NHL enforcers to ensure that no "disrespect" occurs to skill players on their team, and that this actually makes the game a safer place because players are afraid to essentially do their jobs for fear of being beaten up by men whose proverbial time cards include one 30 second shift a game with the sole purpose of pummeling someone's face in. Bernstein sources a truly prodigious amount of pull quotes from retired enforcers that basically amount to "hockey was safer because if anyone made even a questionable play on a star, he would get beat up." Bernstein's argument is essentially that this morass of toxic masculinity and exceedingly touchy egos is essentially what hockey is all about, and without it, the game wouldn't be played by men. Clearly, Bernstein is not an adherent to the rather famous Matahma Gandhi about an eye for an eye making the whole world blind. Bernstein does, however, go on to spend several pages talking about revenge fights (without condemning them) and players waiting for the right moment to try to injure another player (which he does not condemn) and how this fits into the fighting mold, which somewhat weakens his argument about the effectiveness of fighting as a deterrent.Bernstein also tries to emphasize how fighting in the NHL is not as dangerous as, say, boxing, since the fights are so much shorter, and the ice absorbs some of the impact of the hits in the movement of players' skates. In this, I have to admit that Bernstein was writing before the deaths of several high-profile hockey enforcers, i.e, Belak, Boogard, Rypien, and Montador, and the provable links, at least in the case of Boogard, to the exact occupation Bernstein valorizes and the development of CTE. (That being said, research in CTE is still in its infancy, but I don't think it can be ignored when it comes to an honest discussion of fighting in hockey at this time, so I will not.) In fact, Bernstein chooses to quote Boogard on more than one occasion in the course of this book, which was a surreal and deeply uncomfortable experience for me as a reader reading it after Boogard's 2011 death. Bernstein also spends a memorable chapter talking about the instigator penalty and laying the blame for Steve Moore's career-ending injury at the hands of Todd Bertuzzi directly at the feet of the penalty rather than Bertuzzi's. That is not to say that Bernstein doesn't admit to Bertuzzi's culpability in that he "broke the code" by hitting Moore from behind, but his argument, which is specious to my mind, is that without the instigator penalty, Brad May would have simply come out and beat the shit out of Steve Moore for a previous hit on Naslund, and the situation would not have escalated. What makes this argument particularly ridiculous is that Bernstein devotes a significant amount of inches to that particular incident, including the fight Moore had with Cooke in the same game as the Bertuzzi incident. Bernstein fails to address how a fight with May would have changed the situation in a way that a fight with Cooke did not, especially since he spends a great deal of time talking about how fighters tend to fight within "their weight class" in the NHL. Bernstein tries, very ineffectually to my mind, to blame one of the worst incidents in recent hockey history on a type of penalty rather than on the toxic culture of hockey that demands an eye for an eye or privileges certain players to the extent that they cannot be hit legally (in the eyes of the refs working the first game) without having their careers ended and their lives changed forever. There is also one memorable pull quote that Bernstein uses about someone getting beaten up after they'd served a penalty for an offence because the other team's enforcer didn't feel like it was fair that basically sums up everything that's wrong with this argument.In my mind, Bernstein is basically arguing that instead of imbuing the officials with the powers to make the necessary calls and expecting the players to act like adults and accept those rulings, the NHL tacitly allows them to try seeking their own vigilant justice because it's "interesting" or "fans like fighting." On that note, Bernstein talks about how no fan stays in their seat during NHL fights, and that is certainly true. I live in Edmonton, and I will habitually leave my seat and head the concourse during fights at both the NHL and WHL level because I find them both boring and useless. With that full confession, you can see how I was never going to agree with Bernstein on this subject. Bernstein further undercuts the second-part of his argument by finally mentioning that the NHL, AHL, ECHL, and the Major Junior leagues, what seems to collectively be the feeder path of the NHL in this current hockey climate, are pretty much the only leagues that allow fighting, and yet somehow the Olympics, NCAA, CIS, and (although I imagine this has changed somewhat) various European leagues all still manage to draw significant crowds and revenues and produce top stars. Now more than ever, it is a global game, and fighting remains a relic of the supposed "toughness" of the North American game that, quite frankly, can do without all this valoriztion. I find it particularly telling that Bernstein, who talks about trying to play NCAA hockey in his youth, spends 20 chapters of this treatise trying to avoid mentioning that fighting isn't allowed in that league. It's almost like it undercuts his argument or something.Bernstein's little tangent on visors (and helmets) and how wearing them made players more cowardly and less manly was particularly infuriating to me, especially considering the lengthy recitation of serious, career-ending injuries that not wearing eye/head protection in which he then engaged. I took a sort of vindictive pleasure in knowing that visors were grandfathered into the last CBA, and that Bernstein's argument of the supposed manliness of going visorless did not stop the NHL from protecting its players. I also did not appreciate the pull quotes he sourced from both Barry Melrose and Tony Twist where they (and Bernstein by extension) blamed the rise of so-called "dirty" stick work and the dissolution of the NHL team as a unit on the introduction of European players to the NHL, most especially the Soviet players. (Coincidentally, Clarke's infamous episode dirty stickwork rates merely a passing mention.) That sort of racist, xenophobic bullshit has no place in hockey. If I wanted to deal with that garbage, I wouldn't routinely change the channel during the first intermission of the opening game every Saturday night. The thing, however, that infuriated me the most about this entire infuriating, poorly written shitshow was the chapter Bernstein wrote about youth hockey. While I agree that, in the end, it is up to parents to teach their children what is acceptable, I could not disagree more strongly with his premise that sometimes fighting is okay for children. It is never acceptable, and I say this as someone who was a child who was bullied at school, which is one of the situations Bernstein identifies as acceptable for children to fight. This sort of antiquated might-makes-right argument may play into Bernstein's premise, but it not socially acceptable and has pretty much proven ineffective at combating the issue long-term (much like fighting in the NHL). He includes a lot of horrifying statistics about the willingness of youth players to serious injure one another during games, but does not even try to address how his supposed code chooses the address this blood-thirstiness in adults. Indeed, he completely shies away from the fact that a 14 year old willing to board someone so hard that it could possibly end another player's career will probably grow into an adult willing do the same, and that anger management counselling will no doubt be more effective at dealing with this issue than letting someone else punch him in the face a couple of times. To his credit, Bernstein does talk about the ways youth hockey leagues are trying to eliminate dirty plays from the game, and he makes a point to underscore that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable in youth hockey. I just fail to see why it becomes acceptable in professional hockey, or how a 5-minute penalty and a sort jaw serves as an equally effective deterrent as a suspension and/or the significant loss of income. Bernstein spends most of this book defending fighting in the NHL and then tries to take a more moderate stance, as dictated by the new rules introduced after the 2004-05 lockout, at the end. He argues that fighting as a spontaneous release of emotion should be allowed, but the staged pageantry that makes up the majority of fighting in the NHL (because of the instigator penalty, don't forget) should be eliminated. It's an interesting stance (not unlike his pro-visor stance after he actually uses the word "pussy" to describe a player wearing a visor), and I'm not sold that he actually believes what he's saying. I'm personally of the opinion that Bernstein chooses to walk the middle ground in his conclusion because he feels it's the safest ground to walk, not because he any real commitment to player safety or health.In the end, I'm not convinced this book wasn't written by a computer randomly sourcing quotes off the internet and trying to string them into some sense of a narrative. The argument is repetitive, insubstantial, one-sided and fails any number of logic tests; the writing is awful; and the formatting of my Kindle copy is a nightmare. Bernstein fails to present anything more than a personal testimonial (and a badly written one at that) about why he thinks manly men hockey players should be allowed to punch each other in the face at the slightest perceived grievance. My advice to anyone thinking about reading this book is simple: don't. Your time will be much more enjoyably spent doing something--anything--else.

  • Sherrie
    2019-11-26 16:07

    Professional hockey has long referred to the existence of a "Code", unwritten rules that indicate why fighting and tough guys in hockey are necessary, and when and under what conditions a fight may honorably take place. It's a fascinating--if poorly written--behind the scenes look at the mindset behind one of hockey's most controversial customs. There are some problems with the book. One is that, only 8 years after being written, it's dated. This is particularly evident in the discussions on subjects like visors and junior hockey. The second is that the Code has always been a proud Canadian tradition. An increasing percentage of players don't come from Canada, and few of them come from a fighting culture, making it problematic if this view of the game will live on. The author clearly favors a fighting culture, and I enjoy a good hockey scrap as much as the next guy. But Bernstein pretty much blows past the concussion problem in hockey (again this was 8 years ago), going so far as to say there really are no serious injuries that come out of fighting ( in true hockey fashion, he doesn't count things like broken jaws as serious). To me, the most sobering part of the book was the voice of the doomed Greek chorus member, Derek Booguard. Derek was one of the toughest of the tough, and is quoted on his role at length. Booguard is one of a disturbingly large number of enforcers who have recently died young. In his case, it was a drug overdose, and his autopsy revealed advanced Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It's hard to endorse a lot of fighting in hockey when there are more and more enforcers ending up like Booguard. Perhaps someday there will be a "Code: Part 2" that will address this conundrum with the detail it deserves.

  • Joyce
    2019-11-26 18:00

    After a series of tragic events in the 2011 offseason, the NHL is rethinking fighting yet again. Bernstein's apologia is repetitive and sometimes amateurishly written, but it gives a nuanced look at the pro-fighting point of view. The best thing about the book is the plethora of first-person accounts by enforcers such as Todd Bertuzzi, Marty McSorley, Tony Twist, and (eerily) Derek Boogaard. The biggest omission is that the author neglects to vividly show us the consequences of life before the enforcer era... during which, for instance, the princely and highly skilled Jean Beliveau had to fight so often that he racked up 150+ PIMs in a single season!

  • Andrew
    2019-12-02 18:48

    Anyone who has watched a professional sport for a length of time begins to understand the rules – and if they continue, they begin to see that there are another set of unwritten rules that exist beyond the ones written down and enforced by the league. These rules, sometimes known as “The Code”, are enforced by the players themselves, sometimes in conjunction with coaches and even the officials working the games.Ross Bernstein has done a tremendous job in researching the unwritten rules in professional sports. I have recently finished”The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Intimidation in the NHL”, which discusses the tradition of both respect and of fighting in professional hockey. The book is well researched and well written, with quotes from several people who played or were otherwise involved in the game over the years. The book also delves into how the written rules have changed over time, and how the unwritten rules have evolved to keep pace. It discusses how the players enforce these traditions – even to the point where sometimes players are taken to task by their own teammates.In my opinion, the book's flaw – although some may consider it to be its strength – is that it makes no pretense at being an objective study. The author obviously endorses the concept that team enforcers perform a vital service to the game, and that attempts to wipe out fighting are misguided. He makes the case that rules put in place to move away from the bench-clearing brawls of the 1970s' Broad Street Bullies have in fact hurt the game – while never denying that SOME sort of rules needed to be put in place to prevent those 18-on-18 fiasco's. While suggesting that certain rules be repealed because of unforeseen consequences, Mr. Bernstein does not take things a step further and suggest how the rules SHOULD be changed to fix what he perceives are problems without bringing back the undesirable aspects that the rules DID eliminate.This is a good read. There aren't a lot of books about sports that cause the reader to think, and while I only agree with some of the authors' points, he does make them in a clear and concise fashion. I'm looking forward to reading the baseball version of “The Code” that is already on my To Be Read pile.RATING: 4 stars.

  • Tim
    2019-12-06 14:07

    Fighting in hockey is one of those things for which there is no shortage of strongly held opinions. Bernstein, a Minnesotan, attempts to take the reader inside the unwritten rules that govern fisticuffs at the professional level. He deserves credit for a balanced approach to the subject that also explores the background of some of the more notorious incidents that have occurred over the past couple decades (Todd Bertuzzi is the most recent example) and putting them in greater perspective. Subtitled The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL, the book creates a greater understanding of "the code" for outsiders. However, it suffers somewhat from repetitiveness. After all, there really are only so many ways to tell the reader that the "enforcers" follow an unwritten code and why their roles are intended to protect skill players and to police play on the ice. Since Bernstein wrote the book following the recent rule changes that have reduced the number of fights in the NHL as well as caused many NHL teams to question the need for a pure enforcer on the roster, it is quite relevant to the continuing debate over fighting in the sport.[return][return]Originally posted with two other hockey book reviews at

  • Danny Karmin
    2019-12-09 20:01

    I read this book for my 3rd quarter independent reading. Hockey has long traditon of certain unknown rules and conduct. It's a culture of physical play and violence, but also with an honor system known as a "code". This code is about unwritten set of rules which National Hockey League players refer to as a bible. This book talks about those rules and code of conduct which in the past players never discussed. Ross Bernstein was able to interview several fighters or "enforcers" who came out publically in this book to talk the code. Some of these enforcers loved to fight while others hated it. Culturally those that hated it couldn't back away as that decision would have a huge impact on their team and reputation. What is interesting about this book is that many of these enforcers are mean and angry on the ice, but when they leave the arena they are as calm and sweet as you would never imagine. Most of these enforcers all follow the same code of conduct when it comes to fighting. There are proper ways to fight and if they don't follow the proper fighting rules their reputation throughout the league could be damaged. Referees will penalize these players who don't fight in a proper manner which will hurt the team. If you love hockey and the fighting which is a big part of the game, you will love this book.This book is 275 pages long

  • Duke
    2019-11-14 13:55

    This book was repetitive, poorly constructed, and terribly edited but I loved the behind the scenes look at hockey fighting. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea that most fights were premeditated, that most fighters only fight players their own size, and that enforcers will prevent even legal hits against their star players. I had no idea why refs seemed to let some fights go on until the fighters were exhausted, and some fights were broken up immediately. I had no idea that hockey was so self-policing.It was also interesting, because when I played hockey growing up, I was an extremely dirty player. I'd kick players skates out from behind them, slash anywhere I could find that was not protected with equipment, wait until the ref wasn't looking and trip goalies from behind, taunt players, hook players between the legs in their particularly sensitive areas, spear players in the stomach, suggest to chubby players that they go on weight watchers, and generally do anything I could do to get under the other team's skin. Hockey players call this playing "chippy." It's difficult for refs to prevent all the borderline penalties. Amateur players can get away with this stuff, but in the Canadian Jr leagues, minor leagues, and in the NHL, if you play chippy, you will have to answer to an enforcer.

  • Matthew Kill
    2019-12-07 15:12

    Decent book but it was about 100 pages too long. It got very repetative and therefore a little boring (OK - I get it, fighting is about respect). It shed some good light on some of the more brutal "fights" like Bertuzzi/Moore (Bertuzzi is still a cock if you ask me though) and McSorley/Brashear (McSorley was innocent) incidents though. The anecdotes from actual players were very entertaining though and worth reading for that alone. Example:“Revenge in hockey can be a bitch. I still owe Bob Schmautz for trying to spear me in the eye in Colorado one night. I had hit him with a beautiful elbow right in the chest, which knocked the wind out of him. I could have taken his chin off, but I didn’t. So he came back at me with his stick, and we got into a stick fight. It was ugly. I even went after him years later at a celebrity golf tournament up in Pawtucket with a putter one time. Milt Schmidt had to get between us that afternoon, and it was a good thing he was there or that could have gotten ugly, too. I said, ‘You haven’t got a stick now, how tough are you?’ He was a gutless puke. He had no code and no honor. Hey, Schmautz—and you can put this in the book, too—anytime, anyplace. I’m ready for you” - Paul Stewart

  • Matthew
    2019-11-13 20:06

    An easy and entertaining read, THE CODE should list Marty McSorley as a co-author. He's quoted at length in every chapter, and his personal observations provide almost all the book's most interesting content. Bernstein collected remarks from numerous tough guys from several eras, but no one provided more or better reflections on the pugilistic portion of the game than did McSorley. If sportswriting were hockey, Bernstein wouldn't be a flashy goal-scorer like George Plimpton would. He'd be one of the third- or fourth-line grinders whose determination we all admire and with whom we can more easily identify. THE CODE has plenty of heart, but Bernstein never exactly turns an awe-inspiring phrase, and he could have used a carefuller editor: He repeatedly uses the word "synonymous" where he seems to mean something else, and what does he mean by "keep up with the Jones' [sic]"? The worst flub comes early in the book, where Albertans will be dismayed to see the Oilers/Flames rivalry called "the Battle of Ontario."I'm glad someone wrote this book, though; I enjoyed it. I hope McSorely enjoyed contributing to it enough to inspire him to write his own; it'd be great.

  • Trinity Casey
    2019-11-27 12:46

    3/5Thank goodness I got my junior paper out of the way just to find out that the rising juniors may not have to do it. At first I was mad because I spent so much time and suffered immensely because of this paper but then I began to feel bad for those younger than me because learning how to write a good paper is crucial for college and their being deprived of that.+1This book helped me understand my topic so much and I got to read about hockey (my favorite sport)+1I quoted and cited this book so much that it was practically my holy text during the month I had to write the paper+1Hockey.+1Fighting.-1A bit long-winded at times.If you're looking for a good resource or just wanting to learn something new then I highly recommend this book because it pretty much gave me the whole outline for my paper.

  • Ben
    2019-11-15 17:05

    On one hand, this book made me respect hockey enforcers and tough guys even more. On the other hand, the arguments in favor of fighting in the NHL actually backfired, and I came away less convinced that fighting is a necessary or needed part of the game. While the idea of the "code" is almost chivalrous--sticking up for the smaller and weaker players, policing the game to make sure it's played the "right" way, it feels more like a mythical ideal, rather than what happens on the ice.Additionally, with the recent deaths in the offseason of several hockey enforcers (which occurred after the book was published) as well as the continuing public education about the long term dangers of concussions are further argument against allowing fighting in the NHL.

  • Mike
    2019-11-26 14:09

    Yep, if you ever wonderwhy there's fighting, here you go. It's slightly redundant, but still a very well-researched book about "Ol' Time Hockey" we all know and love/hate. The timing of the book is an unexpected plus, as it came out post-Bertuzzi incident and post-lockout, so there is a slight sampling of what the post-lockout world is like. It would've been helped more with some discussions of current agitators (Sean Avery springs readily to mind) and occasionally sells some players short (if Zdeno Chara is an all-star, Norris Trophy candidate, etc. then MAYBE he's a bit more that just an enforcer? Just throwing that out there). Still, a compelling oral history of some less savory aspects of the game. And certainly helpful for those of us waiting for next season.

  • Stephanie
    2019-11-19 17:05

    An interesting read, especially for someone who never really knew the reason fighting was allowed in hockey, other than that it was tradition. A little repetitive, and I found the many blurb quotations in gray sprinkled through a text a little distracting, but all contained interesting stories and information from some of the NHL's former and current greats. The most interesting was probably the beginning chapters about the history of hockey and fighting in hockey, and the last chapters about the new rules, the lockout and the future of hockey. The middle was rather long and repetitive with reasons for fighting that had really already been covered in the beginning. Overall, an interesting read for any hockey fan, especially the newbies like me.

  • DL
    2019-11-24 14:09

    2 stars rounded up for the personal interviews. This book was such a mess, I couldn't finish. One chapter was just a reworded repeat of the one before. Eventually, I skimmed to the first person accounts of the players. Those were quite enjoyable and a great insight to the days when enforcers were mainstays. I expected the book to be a bit outdated, especially with the AHL recently banning fighting immediately following the puck drop, but I wasn't expecting such a strong pro-fighting bias. Still, I did get a better understanding as to why my brother in law defends the grinders so vehemently while I bemoan their play when a more skilled player could be on the ice.

  • Rich Martin
    2019-11-12 14:49

    Barbaric. Grotesque. Compelling.That's what fighting in pro hockey is. And the book about it hasn't been written.It's not that this is poorly written. It's just the wrong book.Guys who fight in hockey are gladiators, and fans love to see it. We're Rome, and the hockey arenas are the Colosseum.Why can people not look away? That's what I wanted to know.Still, this wasn't a total loss. I felt drawn to hockey enforcers. It's a tough way to make a living. One guy had had 1,000 stitches during his career.Another guy had wrecked his hands and they hurt so much he couldn't even hold his kids at home.

  • Thomas
    2019-12-03 19:49

    This book could have been trimmed by at least 50%. Writer was very redundant, which diminishes what could/should have been an insightful and fascinating look at one of the most storied elements of ice hockey. He also only seemed to get one or two perspectives on certain topics, when really three or four were needed (for instance: the "skill player" isn't quoted at all, yet the premise for fighting in the first place is to "protect" him).I love the subject, but was definitely disappointed in the author. Would love to see someone else take a crack at writing about the subject.

  • kat
    2019-11-12 12:48

    I'll tell you what, you can certainly tell this wasn't written by one who writes. A lot of the moralizing on fighting in hockey was repetitive I thought, but the little anecdotes from past and current players sprinkled about were pretty damn funny.Also, the only reason why I read this was so I could figure out why Seth always laughs whenever he gives me the ol' face watch. Next he does that I am so punching him in the nuts.

  • Sean
    2019-11-18 19:55

    Mostly entertaining but makes some GLARING errors in some of the details that fans of the sport will notice. Like the "Battle of Ontario" being a the nickname of the rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary. The correct name for the curious is "The Battle of Albert."For the most part an entertaining book for fans who want to read about the life hockey enforcers live as well as the effect of the new rules and how they forced the evolution of role players in the game.

  • Chris
    2019-12-02 12:53

    Great book. I never truly understood hockey fights until I read this book. It contains first hand accounts, and all the factors and little nuances that lay behind the fights. Some of the controversial fights are covered (Bertuzzi, McSorley etc), as are why they start, why the refs let them happen, when the refs stop them, and why two guys who tore each other up on the ice are still able to go out and have drinks together after the game.

  • Pjtibbetts
    2019-11-26 18:05

    Not bad. Kind of repetitive. It could have probably used more input by those players who were protected by "The Code" rather than just the enforcers. There was plenty of McSorley in the book, but no comments from, say, Gretzky...and how McSorley, et al. made it easier for him to set countless NHL records.Also, no index - could have used an index.

  • Lee
    2019-11-15 13:48

    This book describes the code of fighting and retaliation in the NHL and the evolution of it over the years. It describes some of the major incidents over the years, McSorely/Brashear, Bertuzzi/Moore and how they have affected the various rule changes to crack down on fighting. All in all an okay book if you are a hockey and hockey fight fan.

  • Mikel C.
    2019-11-22 17:50

    I'd reccommend this book to any hockey fan or any one who has even the slightest interest in hockey. The book explains pretty well a behind the scene about an aspect of the game that can not be viewed on the stat sheet or the scoreboard. For any one who thinks that hockey is more about fighting than anything else, this book explains the reasons and the why's regarding fighting in hockey.

  • Amy
    2019-12-01 12:51

    The first part of the book was certainly more entertaining, being full of stories from enforcers. The second half I found to be informative but a bit more dry. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes hockey at all.

  • Laura
    2019-12-09 13:12

    I love to watch hockey. I think it's one of the most graceful team sports played today. For those of you who also enjoy hockey and, like me, learn a little more each game that you watch, you'll find this book very insightful into why they "drop the gloves."

  • Jordan
    2019-11-17 15:01

    Not very well written. Very redundant. It did have good interviews with former players and stuff, and there were real good stories and insights in there. Unfortunately, these were the highpoints of the book.

  • Jason
    2019-11-22 17:03

    Great read for any fan of hockey. Just the anecdotes alone from some of the characters of the league make it worth your time, but the arguments for and against fighting, and the history and reason there is even fighting in the NHL are what makes the book.

  • Pihla
    2019-12-02 14:08

    Messy structure and an overall feeling like it was written by a fanboy of hockey fighters. Meh.

  • Dan
    2019-11-27 19:56

    This might be the most repitive book I've ever read. It's just the same bullet points that make the "code" over and over again.

  • Kristen
    2019-11-13 16:03

    Whether you're a hockey fanatic or someone who disagrees with fighting in the NHL - this is a really good read.

  • Davehbo
    2019-12-07 18:59

    Very entertaining book. Not genius writing, but it tells a great behind the scenes story of hockey fighting