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. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (23)
The simple key to a crazy pucking sport
All pucked up
What is the purpose of violence in hockey? When does it go too far? If you guess that hokey violence is meant to intimidate opponents, protect stars and pay back violence from the other team, you're right. That, basically, is the point of "The Code." That, and there are rules for "fair fighting. Attacking an opponent from behind violates the code. Going after superstars is another. We get descriptions of the worst incidents when the code was violated and hear from the sport's major enforcers. The book disapproves of excesses that crack skulls and end careers, but is seemingly fine with anything short of that. We do get glimpses of great moments in hockey's past - like the game in which the old Boston Garden's AC went out. The place was a sizzling 95 degrees in the upper seats, and fog formed on the ice. But "The Code" is hardly a history of the sport.
I would recommend "The Code" for hockey fans who want to get a sense of what is legitimate from their heroes on the ice. Maybe for those who enjoy playing the sport themselves. But if, like me, you're only a sometime fan of the game, there's not enough here to keep you interested.
for any level of Hockey fan!Insightful interviews and funny stories plus being a comprehensive look at the History of the enforcer and the new Rule 56.A must have, it will make you a better Hockey fan!
Entertaining stories, lacking in deeply explaining what and why
The book has a basic construction of starting a chapter with author's text and then quickly quoting someone involved in hockey and then repeating "a few lines from the author, a quote from someone" multiple times.
Quotes gave me some of really entertaining stories and an insight view to the game, which was nice. Sometimes it felt that the quotes broke the flow of the text quite badly, though.
But the main problem for me was that the book didn't answer my questions about fighting and retaliation to a point which I would've wanted it to do. It kind of scratched the surface and made a point or two along the way in a deeper level, but I had expected much more.
Quite many things were written there that I could just figure out all by myself while watching a game and reading some articles of NHL-games. But then again, some things I really don't get and book didn't help me to cover that stuff up.
I'm a European, so I really don't know what's the hockey culture like in Canada like the natives do, so it also affects my review and you should take that into account as you read this.
I liked the fact that the book messaged the honour and respect being the main things in this game and only honourable and respectful players can be considered to be the great ones. It's really admirable.
So, I'm giving this book two stars for enjoyment and stories, but not more because it lacked on giving me some deeper understandind on the subject.
This book is very repetitive.Could have been shorted to a long article in my opinion.But with a lack of good quality hockey books it still might be worth your time.I had higher expectations when I ordered it and it let me down but if you are interested in the sport and don't know much it I do not want to discourage you form learning so it might be worth your time and teach you about the culture of hockey.
Informative but incoherent
I'm a casual hockey fan who never understood the whys and wherefores of fighting in the NHL, I was keen to learn something about fighting.
The first few chapters explain much of the unwritten "code" which I found very informative. However, beyond that, there was no coherent theme to the book.
On one hand most of the quotations from players harp on "respect" and how fighting ensures that if someone takes a cheapshot, he'll "have to pay" by fighting. Then later on in the book, it's pointed out that 90% of the fights have nothing to do with retaliation or retribution for a cheapshot or "lack of respect". Most fights are about bullying (aka intimidation), the losing side trying to "stir things up" to shift momentum, or two goons fighting each other since they are expected to fight each other. Sometimes it's a young kid who wants to fight an established goon just to make a name for himself.
The author goes to great lengths to make the argument that fighting "keeps the game clean" and then proceeds to describe the stick-swinging, elbowing and thuggery that went on unbridled when fighting was in its heyday. He then talks about a rise in cheapshots and stickwork once fighting was reigned in, and in another paragraph mentions that the NHL game today (where fighting is far more restricted than ever before) is the cleanest it's ever been.
Other reviewers have made the points about excessive use of clichés and quotations as well as the factual errors in the book, so I won't repeat them.
I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any hockey fan.
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