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Essential Hockey Read: Behind The Moves

by Christopher Ralph on April 21, 2012.


Like a Datsyukian breakaway clinical finish, author Jason Farris scores and delivers in this must-read hockey book.


First Impression:


Simply – wow! I was admittedly a little apprehensive when I discovered the book, found that it was only available through the website, and not through conventional means such as Chapters/Amazon. However, upon receiving it one quickly realizes this book vastly exceeds the design and quality of your typical bookstore book. Behind the Movesis in a word – elegant.


My particular edition was tailored to the city I’m based in – featuring the Calgary Flames Stanley Cup ring subtly on the cover and highlighting then GM Cliff Fletcher’s name subtly but effectively on the back of the book. It is also signed by Cliff Fletcher. There are actually twelve unique versions of the book.


I was immediately enthralled.


The Concept:


Revealing quotes, from some of the greatest general managers the NHL has seen, are brilliantly organized.


Upon first delving into the book I was admittedly a little disappointed to read that the author stated analysis was going to be left out of the book, focusing on direct quotes from the tremendous number of GMs and hockey personnel he interviewed. But now I get the concept. It is extremely well put together and the final product is outstanding. Farris amazingly accomplishes what he sets out to do – elegantly let the greatest of the GMs tell you what is behind the moves. No small feat.


The book has been described as one of the most important hockey books in the last decade. I’d go as far as seeing this is one of the most important hockey books to date! I was enamoured with the quotes Farris was able to obtain. He was evidently able to eloquently interview, discuss and converse with the GMs and hockey personnel he was able to talk to for this project.


Wishlist:


I would still like to see a follow up edition featuring commentary and in depth analysis on what was presented in Behind the Moves. Farris has the body of knowledge and the rare ability to effectively do just that.


Secondly, although there had to limits placed on who the author would feature, I would also like to see some of the extraordinary GMs covered in the future who didn’t make the Stanley Cup finals. The benchmark for success is getting to (and hopefully winning) the Stanley Cup. There are GMs of the past and present, however (and this alluded to in the book), that were brilliant hockey minds, but had insurmountable obstacles in their way. One can learn potentially as much from these personalities. As well, there is the rare GM that has been fortunate enough to get to the Cup finals with the rest of their body of work less than stellar. To his credit, Farris did an exceptional feature on current Nashville Predators GM David Poile, one of the most underrated and effective managers in the sport.


Bottom Line:


This book is like a masters class on the inner workings of the life of a general manager. Heading into reading this one, Stephen Brunt’s “Searching for Bobby Orr” was my favourite hockey book of all time. Brunt now finally has a contender. For the story and the writing, Brunt still comes out on top. For true inside hockey insight into one of the most fascinating positions in all of sports and everything else (design, organization, elegance, quality of product, etc.), Behind the Movesknows no known competitors!


Behind The Moves serves as an excellent resource as one will want to utilize it for future reference to rediscover the abundance of hockey gems contained within.


Hockey fans, hockey writers, those working in the game, and even non-hockey fans should all read this well researched, well organized unique book. It is truly a one of a kind that grants you an insider’s view of the general manager position. What hockey fan hasn’t fantasized about holding down such a position?

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