He shoots, he scores! With the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in full swing, it seems like everyone has Ice Hockey Fever, including KSR’s own Tyler Thompson. Hockey is well-loved not only because it’s a game of finesse, that is both fast-paced and hard hitting, but also because it can be a complete fiasco, with bloody bench-clearing, gladiator type, glove-dropping punch-fests that whip crowds into a frenzy. Hollywood has long been fascinated with the beauty and brutality of Canada’s national sport, so whether you’re a long-time fan or you’re just getting started, you’ll want to consider watching the ten greatest hockey films ever made, eh.
10. Sudden Death (1995)
Fighting is unfortunately part of the game of hockey, and sometimes it spills out into the stands, or even into the arenas kitchen. Why JCVD would suddenly kill Iceburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot I’ll never know. Maybe he’s a Blackhawks fan.
9. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
You just had to put this on this list, didn’t you? “Fraid so dude!” Ugh, well the movie and subsequent sequels are corny as hell, but it’s a great hockey film franchise and one that actually served as the inspiration for the real 1993 NHL expansion team, The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
8. Miracle (2004)
The film is based on the true story of the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey team’s odds-defying victory over the heavily favorited Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Kurt Russell (pictured above), never seems to age, and his portrayal of coach Herb Brooks, along with the inspirational pre-game speech he delivers to his team, still gives me Cold War shivers. “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”
7. Friday the 13th (1980)
Jason Vorhees was a child-prodigy and hockey fans would drive miles just to see him tend the pipes at the Crystal Lake Recreational Center for Troubled Youth. As a goalie, he held the bantam league record for highest save percentage for many seasons. That was until Friday the 13th, 1980, when everything changed, Hockey Night in Crystal Lake was never the same after that. His story was so awe-inspiring, filmmakers continued making sequels even after his mysterious and untimely death. RIP Jason.
6. Strange Brew (1983)
“Cover your shorts, don’t get deked, stick on the ice”, is great advice for any aspiring goalie looking to play in the NHL. Admittedly, this film isn’t about hockey, eh, it’s more of a Shakespearian tale, about two Canadian brothers and their quest to save the Great White North and beyond from an evil Brewmeister, hell-bent on enslaving the world via beer laced with mind-altering chemicals and controlling them with a….keyboard. “Take off you hoser!”
5. Youngblood (1986)
What do you get when you take the classic underdog, “you got heart kid” storyline of Rocky and change the setting to ice hockey? Well you get Rhockey, with prettier actors like: Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?
4. TRON (1982)
Due to the rise of technology and prevalence of personal computers and arcade consoles, America found itself facing an obesity crisis in the early ’80s. Nancy Reagan asked the NHL to partner with the FDA to fight the troubling disease. Their plan, to motivate kids to get off their asses and play the sport of hockey. In the vein of D.A.R.E., they hatched a campaign called T.R.O.N. to subtlety introduce the game of ice hockey to out of shape, homebound nerds everywhere. If you look closely in the movie, despite living inside a computerized world, the programs are wearing hockey equipment.
3. Slap Shot (1977)
If there’s one definitive hockey movie that both captures the brutal reality and stereotypes associated with one of the greatest sports on earth, it’s Slap Shot. I could watch this movie all day, everyday.
2. Most Valuable Primate (2000)
The idea of seeing a dog playing hockey would be totally preposterous. Basketball, yes, but hockey? I mean, would he wear one or two pairs of skates? Were you expecting Mystery, Alaska to make the list?
1. The Life and Times of Wayne Gretzky (2005)
Mario Le-who? Like Highlander, there can only be one, in this case it’s a film about my hero #99, “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky. Respek!