Top Five Hockey Movies to get you Ready for The Playoffs
By Zach Irwin
I think I speak for sports fans every when I say thank god sports could be back in the summer! On Tuesday with the NHL announcing their return-to-play format and looking at July as the possible time to start up playoff hockey. With the NHL being the first of the four major sports league in North American to have a plan to return-to-play, There is a high level of anxiousness and excitement for some piece of normalcy. But as we wait for the NHL to return, there ways to get your hockey fix and pass the time by watching hockey movies.
Now, great hockey movies are hard to come by. You have more bad than good hockey movies such as The Love Guru, MVP, or Sudden Death. But that’s what this list is for to help those possibly find those hidden gems to tell friends and family about.
With that being said here are the top 5 hockey movies of all time:
1. Red Army (2014)
This film does what very few if any movies have ever done: what it did was provide crystal clear glimpse into the lives of the Soviet Union hockey players inside the Iron Curtain of the USSR. It truly depicts how dramatically the play of the Russian-style changed the sport and how it’s played today.
Gabe Polsky’s documentary does a tremendous job weaving politics and sports together. It masterfully uses the hockey footage and the commentary to tell a very compelling story; At the same time, it also challenges the audience to rethink their opinions on the certain hockey myths that are out there. Throughout the documentary Polsky does excellent interviews with the famed “Russian Five”, and goaltender Vladislav Tretiak; it truly captures the personal account of the players that the audience truly feels they are learning new things putting assumptions to rest about the great Soviet Union teams that they didn’t know about. People viewed the soviet players as robots because they rarely showed emotion, whether in victory or defeat (mostly in success).
Red Army brilliantly shows the conflicting approaches and political beliefs of coaches Anatoly Tarasov and Viktor Tikhonov and the Soviet players. It highlights how politics drove hockey-related decisions into nation-building decisions. All these things added up to make this movie documentary a very compelling, real-life story that is unmatched in some films more so a hockey film.
2. Slap Shot (1977)
A cult classic from the late 1970’s, Slapshot is one of the most quotable sports movies of all-time and has spawned the most hockey-related quotes than quite possibly all other hockey movies combined. It’s violent, bawdy, brash, crass, and very much politically incorrect, all of which contribute to the quality of the film. Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlop, the player-coach for the Charlestown Chiefs, are on the brink of extinction as 10,000 workers are being laid off in the small town. To try to bring energy and excitement back into the town and team, Dunlop turns to his recent acquisitions, the Hanson Brothers play. They started to wreak havoc on the league and fighting anybody on the opposing to by god moves.
3. Miracle (2004)
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? YES!
I dare you to tell me that whether you’ve seen this movie once or thousand times that you didn’t get the chills after watching the film from beginning to end at least once even though everybody knows how the film would end It’s hard to pull off a story that’s been told so many times — even the most casual of sports fans knows the essential plot points — but Miracle makes it work in no small part thanks to a brilliant performance by Kurt Russell, who perfected the role of USA hockey coach Herb Brooks. Listening to Rusell/Brooks pregame speech against the Soviets will genuinely have you either running through a brick wall or looking for your stick and skates to do battle. This is not only one of the best hockey movies, but it’s up there as one of the best sports movies of all-time.
4. Goon (2011)
Yes, even the tough guys need love too. A fun story about a dim-witted Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) who can’t skate but can fight and protects his skilled teammates from the opposing team through intimidation. It succeeds as fun and entertaining, as Doug is probably the nicest hockey player ever on screen. The hockey scenes, though, are maybe the best in the industry—Liev Schreiber elevates everyone’s game with his acting—and who doesn’t shed a tear when Xavier Laflamme is set loose to score once Doug has punched out Schreiber’s Ross Rhea? This movie is not a family movie but any stretch; even the movie prides itself on being one.
Slapshot is a complete ice hockey movie there is, and the only thing stopping the Charleston Chiefs from achieving Stanley Cup greatness is the fact that one of their ragtag bunch would probably steal it before they had a chance to win. So without further ado fire up that Maxine Nightingale! However, like SlapShot, Goon will not age well because of the boy’s hockey culture with the homophobia that is said throughout the film. But still, this movie is everything you expect it to be, completely unapologetic for gratuitous violence and bathroom humor.
5. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
The movie of a generation for the kids who grew up in the ’90s and most likely made a lot of kids want to play the sport of hockey and always to remember that “ducks fly together. This is Disney’s version of the Bad News Bears, with Emilio Estevez, who plays Gordon Bombay, the reluctant coach with baggage who leads the ragtag group of ne’er-do-wells to an unlikely victory over an overwhelming favorite. Since this is a Disney movie, we all know that the ending is going to be inspirational, and the underdogs are going to win in the end. This movie series is a trilogy that does focus on the big bad villains in all three of the films.
In the first version, it’s the Hawks; in the second installment, the Ducks go international against the dreaded Team Iceland, and in D3, the young high school Ducks take on the varsity at Eden Hall Academy. The other reason as to why so many people like this movie are that it inspired Disney and the city of Anaheim to get a professional sports team in the NHL. How many movies can say that? I’ll give you the answer, none! It also has great characters throughout the films with Charlie Conway, Adam “Cake Eater” Banks, Goldberg, Avermen, and the man of wisdom Hans. I would say this movie is for the younger audiences now, but hey, even adults, will watch for the nostalgia factor of seeing the “flying V” form one more time.