Hockey and Hollywood make for an odd couple. But despite the often wobbly plots and paper-thin characters, a few hockey movies are must-see experiences for any dedicated fan. The following hockey movies are available on video and/or DVD.
The classic. Follow the Charlestown Chiefs and the unforgettable Hanson Brothers as they wrap the knuckles and brawl their way through the backwaters of minor league hockey, winning the hearts of fans and the grudging approval of bored wives and girlfriends. Some NHL players and fans can recite large chunks of the script from memory: "Icing happen when the puck comes down, bang, you know, before the other guys, nobody there, then my hand goes comes up, then play stops then start up."
"We were ten players all wearing the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, all with the same burning enthusiasm. We all wore the famous number 9 on our backs." A winsome animated short with Roch Carrier narrating his memoir of a boyhood spent on frozen ponds. Plot thickens when a mail-order mistake replaces his sacred Canadiens jersey with - horror of horrors - a Leafs' sweater!
The true story of how the NHL crushed a fledgling players' union in the 1950s. Served with healthy doses of cliche and stereotype, but Aidan Devine is very good as the brooding Red Wings' captain Ted Lindsay. Based on the book of the same name (by Alison Griffiths and David Cruise), a terrific examination of the NHL's appalling record in labor relations. What did retired NHL stars do before there was a pension fund? At least one guy lived in his car.
From Quebec comes this dark portrayal of the ultimate French-Canadian hockey hero. Maurice Richard is portrayed as a brooding figure, often at odds with the NHL. His clashes with the league establishment are set in the context of a growing discontent among Quebecoise in the years leading up to the Quiet Revolution.
This dramatization of the 1980 Miracle On Ice could have been just another feel-good, rah-rah sports movie. But it's actually not bad. Kurt Russell is good as coach Herb Brooks, and the film builds well, showing the unglamorous and often mundane business of team building, before delivering the expected stirring finish. Them Soviet robots never knew what hit 'em!
Someone is murdering the bigwigs of pro hockey, with an eye to the ultimate target: the league commisioner, Mr. Buttman. The farce is overstretched at times, but this buddy/cop comedy has extra laughs built in for hockey fans.
The New York Rangers travel north to Mystery for a challenge match against the local heroes, led by Russell Crowe. The David and Goliath plot gets a little trite, but this is a nice homage to smalltown hockey and the joys a fresh winter's day. Look for a splendid cameo by one of Hollywood's biggest hockey fans.
Rejecting the usual heroic cliches, this is a sharp look at one boy's desperate quest to make it big in pro hockey.
Pretty awful, but added to this list in response to emails from outraged Youngblood-ites. Rob Lowe stars as a talented kid making his way in the bruising world of junior hockey. After getting his head kicked in a few times, he decides there's a lot more to the game than just putting the puck in the net. Ranks reasonably well in the unintentional laughs department.