Hockey on the Big Screen

A breakdown of my top 3 favourite hockey themed movies

Hockey is no longer just a sport. In Canada at least, it seems as if an NHL logo is waiting around every corner. Fans wear their jerseys proud, they personalize their license plates, and some even go as far as painting their house the colours of their favourite team!

There is only two options: 1) His significant other likes the Canadiens as much he does. 2) He doesn’t have a significant other.

As hockey slowly changed from a game to a culture, its prevalence in everyday life followed suit, so it is no surprise that hockey made its way to the big screen. There have been quite a few hockey movies filmed over the years; some are very good, but most are not…  The few good ones out there have become iconic to the hockey community. They have influenced countless beer league/fantasy hockey team names, they have roots to many popular locker room and on ice dialogues, and some even have apparel which is often seen worn by hockey fans (one of these fictitious jerseys even made it to the NHL!). Here is my selection of the top 3 best hockey themed movies. These are based on my life experiences, so do not panic if your favourite did not make the cut! Instead, tweet me your favourites by clicking here!

3) D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)

So bad, yet so good. – Walt Disney Pictures

At one point of my life (probably the peak) I could recite this movie from beginning to end. The amount of times this film has spun through my VCR player is immeasurable. It is the second installment of The Mighty Ducks trilogy, and I can actually credit this movie for a portion of my love for the game.

I do not want to give away the crazy, hard-to-follow, clever, and twisty plot (just kidding, it’s a terribly predictable film), but it involves the gathering of the “Ducks” from the first installment, with several recruits from across America. This team was assembled to go for the gold in the Junior Goodwill Games in California. Barreling through teams such as Trinidad and Tobago, the only thing that stands in the way of Team USA is the oversized Icelandic team. After being embarrassed by the Icelanders in the round-robin, Team USA must change their plan of attack (or jerseys…) for a shot at beating them in the gold medal match.

What? No Canada? And why was team Iceland made of 30 year old men? Also, why was team USA formed primarily of a district 5 Peewee team? There are so many horrible plot flaws in this movie, but I love every single one of them. D2: The Mighty Ducks is, and always will be one of my favourite films to watch; ducks fly together!

2) Goon (2011)

The fight scenes in this movie are amazing. – Alliance Films

When the preview for this movie first came out, I had terribly high expectations. These expectations only grew as time passed. The cast, the writers, the theme…it had cult classic in the making written all over it. Well let me tell you ladies and gentlemen; this film did NOT disappoint. The writers and director were able to incorporate everything you would expect out of a hockey themed movie, and more (I must tip my hat to the “trailer park boys” cameo). This movie was so good in fact, that several lines from this film have become incorporated in my everyday speech due to excessive watching.

The movie is about Doug Glatt’s transformation from a meat-head bouncer, to a meat-head bouncer…on ice. Born to a family of doctors, Doug Glatt had always felt a little out of place, so when he found a home as an enforcer on his hometown hockey team, he embraced the role with arms wide open. Working his way up to a lack-luster “AHL” team to protect a fallen super-star, Doug finds himself pitted against his childhood idol; St. John’s Shamrock’s enforcer Ross “The Boss” Rhea. As with most movies of this type, there is a side story involving a love interest, but it is the rough and tough hockey content which really captures the audience.

The movie will make you laugh, it will make you cry (from laughing), and it will make to cringe (the slow motion blood splatters are pretty gruesome). Overall, the only thing I would change about this movie is Jay Baruchel’s horribly annoying character. The guy co-wrote the damn movie…why Jay? Why?

NOTE: Goon 2 is a thing…I cannot wait!

1) Slap Shot (1977)

The one and only Hanson Brothers – Universal Pictures

Goon is the Slap Shot of my era, but I personally believe that no hockey movie will surpass this film as the number one hockey movie of all time. It will forever be the base to which all hockey movies are compared to. If you have not yet seen this movie, go to the box and feel shame, then go watch the movie before reading the rest of this article… I’ll wait for you.

This film is a hilarious take on the lives of the Charlestown Chiefs roster. The historically losing team, being close to shutting down due to the local mill closure, resorts to cheap and just downright embarrassing marketing ploys to keep the team afloat. With the addition of the Hanson brothers, a trio of seemingly nerdy goons, the team begins to draw a crowd by embracing the shift towards the enforcing style of play. Maintaining this attitude, the Chiefs bully their way to the Federal League finals. Several outrageous situations later (including the iconic hockey strip tease), the Chiefs find themselves the Federal League champions.

The above synopsis is very rudimentary, go watch the movie again for all the details, you won’t regret it!

This isn’t the type of movie you want to cuddle up with the family to watch; it is an inappropriate, gruesome, hilarious film, and I love every second of it. This movie alone has influenced so many facets of game. I mean, it’s a fictional movie, but seeing someone wearing a Chiefs jersey is by no means uncommon. How many of you fantasy hockey GMs out there have a “Chiefs” team in your league? How many of you hockey players have witnessed a rendition of the “strip tease” during practice? How many of you have played against a “Chiefs” or “Old-Time Hockey” team in your beer league? All of this has stemmed from the film Slap Shot, and for these reasons alone, it is my number one pick for the BEST hockey movie of all time.

Again, if your favourite hockey movie did not make my top 3, I would love to hear about it! Tweet me with your favourites by clicking here.

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