For years in the United States Hockey was a dirty word. If you were in the know and proudly exclaimed your admiration for the sport back in the 80s, you were either made fun of or just outright ignored. Certainly, Hockey is violent enough to be more popular than football, but what's more American than Football? Nothing. Maybe, baseball, but we American's love our violence, and there ain't much of that on the diamond across nine innings. There isn't another sport that exists that you can see one man crash another man into a giant glass wall while the both of them are skating around on little, thin, steel blades. Where else, but hockey, can you see a little, black, puck flying in the air at a zillion miles an hour, and a guy that is left to defend a net that looks like he's a stunt double for movie monster slasher Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies? Only in hockey.
And as we're die-hard hockey fans here at TVSO we thought we'd list our Top 5 Favorite Hockey Movies (in no particular order):
Slap Shot (1977)
It just might be the best movie about hockey ever made, there we said it. Slap Shot, directed by George Roy Hill and starring the great actor Paul Newman highlights a small, on-the-decline New England town and its minor league hockey team, The Chiefs. After years and years of coming in last place, Newman, the teams coach and also its star player, decides in an attempt to shake things up to let some new players in on the action. The Hanson Brothers, perhaps, completely now identified as the iconic faces from the movie itself, are crazy, maniac, violent hockey players that drive the fans wild eventually drawing more crowds to the games. In the end all is saved and The Hanson Brothers come back to appear in the Slap Shot sequels that followed--all of which were direct-to-video releases in the years that followed.
Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Directed by Jay Roach (best known as the director of the Austin Powers Movies, and most recently the Academy-Award nominated film, Trumbo) sets a publicity stunt in place that features the NHL team the New York Rangers pitted against a rag-tag team of amateur players in Mystery, Alaska. The latter, of course, being a small town with just 600 hockey-obsessed fans. The Mystery, Alaska team features actor Russell Crowe as their leader, and the movie is a sort of the underdog going up against the big guys. We won't tell you who wins the exhibition, but the movie is pretty damn inspiring.
Young Blood (1986)
Starring a younger, less comically-charged Rob Lowe (pre-sex tape), Young Blood features Lowe as Dean Youngblood a hot-shot hockey player who is obsessed with making a name for himself in the Canadian Hockey League so that he can get noticed by the scouts of the NHL. With his hot-shot attitude, he draws attacks on him by nasty and dirty-playing players in the amateur league. When things head south for Dean, he retreats back home to his father's house where me must regain his courage and muster to go back out after his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
Based on a true story, actor Kurt Russell plays a coach who is hired to help the 1980 United States Men's Olympic Hockey Team win the gold. From the outset, the 1980 US Men's team was the underdog, critics said that they didn't have what it takes for any team to win the gold at the Olympics against a far-superior Russia squad. In the end, you'll know exactly what this movie is called Miracle. A true inspirational story.
A landmark movie made in Canada in 1971 that features Canadian character-actor Art Hindle and John Vernon (best known as Dean Wormer in National Lampoon's Animal House). A rookie player, played by Hindle, is brought on to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and in the midst of trying to make his name he falls in love with a beautiful young musician who disapproves of his beat'em up lifestyle on the ice. The movie features an all-star cast of the who's who from the hockey world. Hockey greats like Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, and Derek Sanderson all have cameos in the movie.