While hockey usually doesn’t hit the big screen often, there have been a handful that truly grasp the essence of the coolest game on the earth. Here are the top three movies based around hockey.
1. Slap Shot
Did you think it was going to be anything else else? Hands down, the best hockey movie ever made. The movie follows the Charlestown Chiefs and has-been player/coach Reggie Dunlop (played by Paul Newman) and the Hanson brothers in a regular season that isn’t so regular. The minor league team finds success by doing what they do best, beating the crap out of the other team. In one game, the Hanson brothers actually get arrested at the end of the first period after assaulting fans in the audience. The characters are classic and memorable and the comedy continues from start to finish.
“This young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country’s refusal to accept him, I guess that’s more than most 21 year olds can handle. No. 6, Ogie Oglethorpe.”
But just remember to stay away from Slap Shot 2, as the sequel is a disappointment compared to the original.
2. Mystery, Alaska
Hockey, Alaska, and Russell Crowe – what more could you ask for in a movie? In this David versus Goliath flick, a small town team from Mystery challenges the hardened New York Rangers to a game of pond hockey. The movie has a solid plot and very humorous moments. Not only that, but there is also a quasi love story going on with Russell Crowe’s character and his wife played by Mary McCormack. It is a movie for everyone, with romance, sports, violence, and good laughs. Bert Reynolds even shows up playing an old-time hockey legend. The action on the ice is intense and the drama keeps viewers at the edge of their seat until the final seconds of the game.
3. The Mighty Ducks Trilogy
A must see! The trilogy is quite possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to hockey. That may sound a bit extreme, but yes Disney probably helped save hockey in some sort of way. I mean how many sports movies lead to an actual professional team named after the movie? And when the second movie came out, you couldn’t find a kid who hadn’t tried the knuckle puck at least once on the street.You will laugh, you will cry, okay, so you probably won’t cry, but you will laugh. The movie is filled with sophomoric humor with kids playing pranks on more kids. Oh and they play hockey in between all of that. The storyline is so classic that Disney has recycled it maybe a million times over. If you don’t believe me, go rent The Big Green and tell me that movie isn’t the Mighty Ducks on a soccer field.
My top pick out of the trilogy would be the second one. They play the feared country of Iceland in the Junior Goodwill Games. The film was also the introduction for Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, the hottest girl goalie I had ever seen when I was 14.
The story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team which shocked the world. Kurt Russell is excellent as head coach Herb Brooks.
The U.S. squad, led by college-aged misfits accomplish the unthinkable, defeating the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Quite possibly the cheesiest movie ever made. This one stars Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze of “Road House” fame.
Lowe plays youn hockey star Dean Youngblood. Youngblood joins a minor league Canadian hockey team, for what else? To learn how to fight.
Look for cameos from Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze’s mullet. The hockey action is pretty good, but the fights are awesome.
Random fact: according to imdb.com Swayze was trained as a figure skater and Keanu Reeves was an MVP goalie.