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Library Book Review: The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL

A new unscheduled series reviewing hockey books new and old.

2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Alumni Game Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images

I love reading, especially non-fiction books. I’ve decided to periodically review hockey books on Arctic Ice Hockey. I have a couple criteria:

  1. They are available from the Winnipeg Public Library
  2. They are about hockey in some way
  3. No one offers me any incentive to review a book. If they do (I once reviewed a graphic novel for AIH and we gave away two copies), it will be clear.

That said, the first book I am reviewing and the book that spawned the idea is The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL.

The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL by Sean McIndoe is a doubly nice book as it is a short read at only 249 pages and it is also by a Canadian. For those who do not know, McIndoe AKA Down Goes Brown is a recovering Toronto Maple Leafs blogger and a writer at The Athletic. His humourous style jives well with the book he wrote and it led to a pleasant experience for the reader.

The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL started with the inception of the NHL and the wild and wacky ways of the early days. From teams folding mid-season to leagues being started to shut out bad owners; the NHL was weird. McIndoe’s friendly approach with gentle shots at the NHL for some of the weirder and wackier decisions works great and only gets stronger as the book goes on.

If there is a weakness to the book, it is that there is not enough elaboration on some of the zanier stories, but that would take away from the short chapters and quick read of the book. The book has numerous strengths and one is the little mini-chapters that hold interesting facts like the fact that for the NHL’s 75th Anniversary, they had team’s name celebrity captains and the Pittsburgh Penguins named Mr. Fred Rogers and it was everything. Start watching a 2:25.

I would give this book a solid 4/5 as it was an easy read with new information presented in a fun way. Also, it has a story about Mr. Rogers and that makes anything better.

If you have book recommendations or ones you want reviewed, you can email I will only review books in the library collection even if I own them in order to promote the wonderful place libraries have in all communities.