Open Net: A Professional Amateur in the World of Big-Time Hockey

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Press: Lyons Press (November 10, 2009)
Author Name:Plimpton, George


In Open Net, another of George Plimpton's inimitable accounts of a fearless amateur braving the world of professional sports, Plimpton takes to the ice as goalie for his beloved Boston Bruins.

From Library Journal

In the interest of ``participatory journalism,'' Plimpton joined the Boston Bruins hockey team to learn to play goalie. 
His sojourn with the Bruins in training camp culminated in a five-minute stint in goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The book follows the format of Paper Lion and Out of My League , as Plimpton tries valiantly to acquire the skills of the position and comes to his moment of truth with some degree of success.
Although Open Net does not have the depth and richness of Paper Lion , it clearly illustrates the difficulty in playing the very physically demanding game of hockey.
Jo DeLapo, Queens Borough P.L., New YorkCopyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“A season with the Boston Bruins is the basis for Plimpton’s absorbing personal report. 
A winning entertainment for fans of sports, told with warmth and integrity.”

From the Back Cover

In Open Net, George Plimpton takes to the ice as goalie for his beloved Boston Bruins. 
After signing a release holding the Bruins harmless if he should meet with injury or death, he survives a harrowing, seemingly eternal five minutes in an exhibition game against the always-tough Philadelphia Flyers.
With reflections on such hockey greats as Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Eddie Shore, Open Net is at once a celebration of the thrills and grace of the greatest sport on ice and a probing meditation into the hopes and fears of every man.

About the Author

George Plimpton (1927–2003) was the best-selling author and editor of nearly thirty books, as well as the cofounder, publisher, and editor of the Paris Review. 
He wrote regularly for such magazines as Sports Illustrated and Esquire, and he appeared numerous times in films and on television

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Cherry said, "You have to give some indication you're not backing down. 
This one time, some rough guy slammed Camile Henry up against the boards.
Camille, who was about the  smallest guy in the league, was being held up there, just jammed in the corner, with this guy egging him on--'now what you goin' to do?--and Camile suddenly leaned forward and kissed this guy on the lip."


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Comment List (Total:18)

  •     Plimpton is at his best in this light-hearted memoir about training with the Boston Bruins. His descriptions of the humor and characters that define the sport are spot-on. As an outsider on the inside, Plimpton gives us a glimpse of what life is really like for these professional athletes.
  •     As a big hockey fan, and a goaltender, this was just required reading. Yet, it turned out to be more. This well written, quick read was a gas to enjoy and quote. I will be glad to read others by George Plimpton, and I'm already on the hunt for PAPER LION. I guess thats my ringing endorcement. If I'm looking to read a book on football, the author must be wonderful. Quick, funny, well written, and vastly enjoyable, you wont regret buying this book, no matter what the price.
  •     If you're already a hockey fan, especially one who followed the sport in the'70s (and the Bruins in particular), you should enjoy this truly inside look into the pro hockey world. Plimpton, who also did a stint as QB with the Detroit Lions in the 60's, dons a goalie mask and reports on the wild and wacky life of hockey. If you don't know hockey, this'll be a real eye-opener!
  •     Open Net is my personal favorite attempt of Plimpton's career as a "professional amateur". Being a huge hockey fan and a lover of his prose, Plimpton creates new wrinkles to the "lunch pail gang" of Don Cherry's Bruins. Written during a time where fisticuffs was a big issue in hockey (before the Great One piled in all those goals), Plimpton does what Plimpton does best - act as a fly on the wall.From trying to make it as a goalie, to writing about Grapes satorial equipment, to Derek Sanderson and Gerry Cheevers, this is a great read. He always gets credit for "Paper Lion", but Open Net is an underappreciated read.
  •     Mostly boring
  •     George Plimpton was a great sportswriter. He had the unique approach of actually competing in exhibition games and training camps to identify with the athletes.
  •     Book came in good shape. This is a very good book as I grew up during this time and I am a Bruin's fan, and I play hockey myself.
  •     George Plimpton once again dons a uniform and plays a game. This time he tackles hockey while training with the Boston Bruins.
  •     I laughed. I learned. I loved Open Net.Plimpton summarizes (page 254) his experience with the Bruins to Junior Achievers in Edmonton, "I described some of my brief...
  •     I still have it in my bookcase and will not get rid of it. As well it provides a great insight into the profession of hockey and a picture of the Bruins in one of their greatest...
  •     This has to be George Plimpton's best book. I've read this book and could not put it down. If you are a hockey fan, or a George Plimpton fan I highly recommend this book.
  •     Another excellent George Plimpton read. I'm not a hockey fan, but I could read Plimpton on curling!
  •     It made me an even bigger hockey fan.
  •     This book was a real joy to read. It was a pleasure to take in George's unique observations as he bravely went where no non-athlete has been before, between the pipes to guard the goal of the famed Boston Bruins.What makes this book so special is George's lack of prejudice and his ability to tell a story complete with the smells, sights, thoughts, feelings and emotions of being completely overwhelmed by a situation that he has absolutely no control over.His story-telling is succinct and yet descriptive enough so that the reader feels like s/he is in the room with George, as he talks with players, coaches, hockey wives, fans, etc.Throughout the book, it amused me to picture George holding a conversation these hockey players - his Ivy-league mesmerisms and accent remarkable proof that he is a stranger in this crowd.It is impressive that Plimpton is not judgmental in his analysis of this much maligned sport. He has a splendid time in his experiences, and I had an equally splendid time reading his book. Don't worry that this book was published in the 80s, as this is a timeless storytelling achievement.
  •     Plimpton had fun as a participatory athelete and to read of his experiences was fun; this book is a bit light compared to the Golf one or others, but enjoyable to learn more about the hockey stars of past.
  •     This book was great! I picked it up about two years ago, and have read it three times since then!
  •     If you like the game of hockey and have an interest in the Boston Bruins, you will like it. Like all books, you have to be interested in the subject to enjoy the book.
  •     If you enjoy Ice Hockey, especially from a historical perspective, this is the book to read. Fans of Don Cherry will love this book.

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