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The "Down Goes Brown" History of the NHL

The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League
Narrated by: Sean McIndoe
Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: Sport, Other
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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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

Critic reviews

“In this fun, irreverent, and fact-filled history, McIndoe writes his obsessively detailed memories, combined with his keen sense for the head-shaking absurdities of the league. All this, while acknowledging the love for the game.” (The New Classical FM) 

 
“McIndoe is definitely in his element writing The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL.... McIndoe’s well-researched look into hockey history covers lots of topics with his humorous, and sometimes sarcastic, view providing an entertaining look at the NHL and how it came to be..... And as interesting as the history chapters are, these sections are fun and funny.... If you are looking for an entertaining hockey book you will want to consider The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL!” (NorthBayNipissing.com) 

“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%

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  • LSmith
  • 11-01-19

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.

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  • Kevin
  • 06-09-19

Couldn't stop listening

I laughed, I cried, I learned a lot. Very entertaining. it was definitely worth listening to

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  • D. Trull
  • 27-03-19

Fun, fascinating education in hockey history

As an avid fan of the modern NHL (let’s go Hurricanes!), I admittedly don’t know much about the sport’s olden days. Sean McIndoe did a ton to fill in the huge gaps in my fan knowledge in a highly entertaining way. You got to love his irreverent attitude of “this league has been so weird and stupid over the years, but it’s still the greatest thing in sports.” I enjoyed learning about how the Original Six were not really the Original Six, how the players had to referee their own game one time, how Canada has long been screwed over by NHL expansion, how it was considered scandalous when European players first came into the league, and how dramatically Gary Bettman changed the modern NHL (and became such a hated figure among fans).

An audiobook like this could be really obnoxious and awful if it were performed in a sports talk radio style: loud, know-it-all and constantly cackling at its own cleverness. Much to his credit, McIndoe avoids such pitfalls in reading his own book. Even though he’s opinionated as hell and thoroughly hilarious, his calm deadpan delivery is perfectly delightful. Never condescending or boorish in his vast hockey knowledge, McIndoe is like listening to a smartass buddy tell you interesting tales of the NHL and how it got that way. Great stuff!

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  • Steven
  • 03-01-19

Entertaining Listen

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

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  • TG
  • 25-12-18

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.

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  • kase
  • 31-10-18

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.