The Game That Saved the NHL: The Broad Street Bullies, the Soviet Red Machine, and Super Series ’76

Lyons: Globe Pequot Nov. 2023. 248p. ISBN 9781493074976. $29.95. SPORTS
Gruver (Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn), in his description of the historic 1976 battle between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Soviet Red Army hockey team, succeeds in capturing the pivotal evolution of playing styles by highlighting the cross-pollination of tactics and techniques between East and West. The timing of the game also fed into its significance, and Gruver does a good job of teasing out the threads of history, politics, and sport. This results in readers gaining a comprehensive understanding of the stakes involved. The book includes numerous firsthand accounts that add an intimate perspective on the strategies, the emotions, and the sheer determination that characterized both teams. Gruver illuminates the cultural and political undercurrents of the time, while also celebrating the passion and dedication of the hockey players involved.
VERDICT An engagingly written account of a significant moment in hockey history. Will appeal to fans of the game and to readers interested in the interplay of sports and geopolitics in the turbulent era of the Cold War.
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