In my last article, I asked a question: Now that hockey season is over, what are we to do to bide our time until the men on skates take to the ice once again?
Well, I have always loved movies, almost as much as hockey, so I have compiled a list of the five best hockey movies to ever come to the silver screen, complete with my unbiased opinion. Here is the list, starting with number five and working our way to the best hockey movie ever:
5. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Emilio Estevez and a cast of kids. Personally, I haven't seen this movie in years and I had forgotten about it. The movie is about a lawyer (Estevez) who, after a drunk driving charge, has to coach a peewee hockey team. A predictable movie with an even more predictable ending but for those of us who played as a child, it brings back fond memories of days gone by.
4. Slap-Shot (1977)
Paul Newman, Strother Martin, and Michael Ontkean head this cast of hockey players. Reggie Dunlap (Newman) is the player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, a minor league hockey team that is about to be sold.
I went to see this when it first came out (I'm giving away my age) and when you are young and drunk on beer, it is a hysterical movie. Years later, I rented it from a local movie rental place for my son and me to watch. Oops, forgot that there was nudity and a whole bunch of foul language in it.
3. Youngblood (1986)
Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze. Dean Youngblood (Lowe) is an aspiring, young hockey player whose one real problem on the ice is fighting; he doesn't know how to fight. This is another predictable hockey/love story but the hockey scenes in it are good. Another one I saw when it came out on the big screen but I was a young drunk at the time. I was older...
2. Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Russell Crowe and Hank Azaria star in this one about the fictional town of Mystery, Alaska and their love for "The Saturday Game." Every Saturday, the town shuts down and goes to either watch or play hockey. An excellent movie for lovers of the game on ice.
Watch out for the language at some points in the movie. This is one of my favorite movies to watch during the offseason. The hockey scenes were filmed very well and the ending was a surprise to me. I highly recommend this one.
And the number one hockey movie of all time...(drum roll, please)...
1. Miracle (2004)
Kurt Russell and Noah Emmerich. The story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team that finally defeated the Russians after 20 years of USSR supremacy. This is the quintessential hockey movie for anyone to watch even if, like me, you lived through it.
Herb Brooks (Russell) assembles and coaches a group of college kids to the gold medal in the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY during a turbulent time in American history. People looked at this game as a way to defeat the Russians and put an end to the Cold War. Brooks even gets a telegram from a lady that says, "Beat those commie bastards." That is about as offensive the language gets.
Every time I watch this movie, it's like reliving the game all over again. I cry at the end, I cheer at every goal, and I feel for every player on that team. One thing to note, Buzz Schneider is played by his son Billy Schneider in the movie. If you haven't seen it, you really need to, for nothing other than to give you a good feeling of being an American again.
Th-Th-That's all, folks......
Well, there you have my list. Yours might be different. If I have not listed your favorite, then blame it on a bad memory and nothing else. I love movies, I love hockey, and I love movies about hockey no matter how sappy they get.
And now that the Detroit Red Wings (GO WINGS!) have won the 2008 Stanley Cup Championship, I am going to turn my attention to more local Okieland sporting events. Look for me writing for Tulsa's Talons (Arena 2 Football) and Driller's (baseball).
I will be back for the opening of the 2008-9 NHL season to watch my Wings defend and repeat as champions of the 2009 Stanley Cup and to those of you who have been reading my columns all along...
Have A Great Summer!