Instant Classics: 8 Must-See Hockey Movies

Andy Campbell Correspondent ISeptember 23, 2011

Instant Classics: 8 Must-See Hockey Movies

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    As the hockey season is rapidly approaching, what better way is there to spend your weekend than with a bowl of popcorn and some cinema classics about our favorite sport? 

    This is not a list where you will see the Love Guru, Sudden Death or even the Cutting Edge (yuck).  This is a “must see” list of movies with action, drama and laughs centering on the greatest sport in the world.  Also, keep in mind this is a list and by no means are these movies ranked in any particular order. 

    Whether comedy, drama or documentary, these eight flicks (with their trailers included) will get you in the mood for a lot of hockey in the upcoming months.    

Youngblood (1986)

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    Rob Lowe as Dean Youngblood and Patrick Swayze as Derek Sutton head up this cast that also includes Cynthia Gibb and a goalie by the name of Keanu Reeves. 

    Dean Youngblood is a 17-year-old American hockey player with dreams of professional superstardom.  After catching on with the Hamilton Mustangs junior club for their playoff run, Dean has a tough time realizing how difficult the road is to the professional ranks. 

    He crosses paths with a goon named Karl Racki who challenges the skilled player to scrap every step of the way.  Will Dean be able to overcome the demands of junior hockey and help the Mustangs to the Memorial Cup? 

    Cameos from former NHL’s Steve Thomas, Gino Cavallini and Peter Zezel provide a taste of authenticity.  Just a taste.

Slap Shot (1977)

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    Quoted on a daily basis (all of which are wildly inappropriate), this timeless film has it all.  Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlap leads a motley crew of booze-bag, perverted hockey players through the buses and the locker rooms of minor league hockey. 

    The players on the Charlestown Chiefs play the sport by intimidating opponents with unorthodox antics and essentially fighting their way to victory.  A film that literally will make your stomach hurt with laughter, hockey fans will find themselves watching it time and time again. Denis Lemieux, Ned Braden, the Hanson’s and Ogie Ogilthorpe are all characters to remember.    

    Without a doubt a classic sports movie, Slap Shot will never get old and will always be the most talked about hockey movie of all time.  Take a pass on Slap Shot 2 and Slap Shot 3 though.

The Rocket (2005)

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    The Rocket is a fantastic look into the life of legendary Montreal Canadiens star, Maurice Richard.  As a biopic, the film goes into great depths of the trials and triumphs of one of the game's greatest players. 

    Roy Dupuis takes on the character of Maurice Richard and the film features NHL players such as Pascal Dupuis, Vincent Lecavalier, Mike Ricci, Sean Avery and more.  In fact, if you would ever like to see Sean Avery get hit like a punching bag, then you should tune into this movie.  

    The film was nominated for 13 Genie Awards (Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) and won nine awards including best actor (Dupuis) and director.    

    This is a superbly done film that all hockey fans will appreciate.

The Mighty Ducks (1992)

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    Another memorable classic, Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay is assigned to coach the District-five peewee hockey team.  

    An underdog story, Bombay, a once dynamic youth hockey player, has been out of the game since his father passed away years before and the thought of being involved in hockey again is less than exciting to him.  

    The District-five team becomes the Ducks and Bombay has the impossible task of making hockey players out of this rag-tag group.  Bombay forms a bond with team member Charlie Conway played by Joshua Jackson (yup, that same dude from Dawson’s Creek and The Skulls) and the team begins to pull it together. 

    The Bad News Bears of hockey cinema, The Mighty Ducks is a fun filled heart-warmer with some solid one-liners.

In the Crease (2006)

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    In the Crease is a documentary following a Bantam Triple-A hockey team in their pursuit of a Tier I National Championship.  It's an in-depth look at the team from Long Beach, California, examining aspects of players and their lives. 

    Like many who grow up playing hockey, these young men have goals to play Division I college hockey.  While some of their parents have varying perspectives on what their sons should focus on, the boys’ dreams are their only reality. 

    It’s a great film to watch and you will find yourself rooting for the California Wave all the way to the National Championships in Chicago.  

Mystery Alaska (1999)

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    Mystery Alaska is the story of a small town with a local team that is overwhelmed when they are chosen to host an exhibition game against the New York Rangers

    Russell Crowe stars as John Biebe, a once great, aging hockey player captaining his beer league team to accomplish the mission impossible against an NHL powerhouse.  

    Burt Reynolds (who is best as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights) does an excellent job of portraying coach Judge Walter Burns.  

    The hockey scenes are many and the film does well with humor.  Certainly a film worth seeing. 

    The most memorable quote for a hockey guy, “I play hockey and I sleep around ‘cause those are the two most fun things in cold weather.”

Pond Hockey (2008)

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    For the last five years, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of Vermont Transit at the U.S. National Pond Hockey Championships on frozen Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.  If you are a player and have not been, please go. 

    Pond Hockey covers the sport in its purest form.  From the tournament to casual play, hockey joy is examined from its roots on frozen lakes and ponds.  For hockey purists, it is the true essence of the sport and not enough kids growing up today continue this tradition.

    With a number of current and former NHL players interviewed in the film, Pond Hockey is an outstanding look at why we play the game we love.  

Miracle (2004)

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    When the best moment in American hockey history was going to be made into a movie, my initial thought was, “How on earth is Disney going to recreate this?” 

    Then, they did it. 

    By a mile the best feature film as far at creating authentic hockey scenes, Kurt Russell took on the role of Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Gold medal Hockey Team.  

    All players on the team were just that, hockey players.  They were former college hockey players acting in the film.  

    The scenes were epic and the cinematography excellent.  Miracle did exactly what the real team did and pulled off an impossible task of recreating the greatest sports moment of our time.  

    “Do you believe in Miracles…..YES!”