Howard Baldwin isn’t a household name these days, but he has had a pretty thrilling life and he’s been at the centre of some of the most pivotal moments in the modern history of professional hockey. Starting with an entry-level job on a team at the lowest level of the sport, he worked his way up until he was both an NHL owner and a producer of Hollywood blockbusters.
For most people, the greatest strength of his book will be the way it captures the fun and the craziness of the ride. From smuggling a swearing goaltender (still in full equipment) out of town in the trunk of a car, to selling an ownership stake in a team to an antiques dealer in exchange for office furnishings to having a pivotal negotiation interrupted when a buck-naked NHL executive wandered through it is light and enjoyable throughout, the kind of story anyone can read and enjoy. Fans of hockey in particular will find the reasons Wayne Gretzky ended up with the Edmonton Oilers instead of the Hartford Whalers especially interesting.