Dave Anthony has been a broadcaster in the MJHL for the past 7 seasons. Every week, he’ll share a thought on the 12 teams in the MJHL and other things from across the league.
We’re continuing to get all comfy cozy in our homes as we look forward to January and the hope of hockey returning. While there may not be any actual games to watch, there are a number of movies that you can sit down and enjoy.
This is my list and most of these are interchangeable. I’d rather watch a hockey movie then most other movies but I had to put them in some kind of order. I may have missed one or two, but I have listed a dozen hockey flicks that will help pass the time.
This week, we do 12 Takes: Hockey Movie Review style.
12) Youngblood – I had never seen this movie before and I probably should have. It’s kind of what you’d expect being made in 1986 but for hockey fans from back in the day, they’ll enjoy seeing the old wooden sticks, the small goalies and maybe how the life style has changed for the better.
Rob Lowe can really wheel and deal on the ice. The hockey is pretty realistic although I’m not too sure about starting a hockey fight with a stick swinging joust. I will say on the penalty shot to win the game, that goalie has one of the sweetest masks ever. We need to bring masks like that back.
11) Slap Shot 2: Breaking The Ice – Call me crazy but I actually like this movie. I watched Slap Shot 2 before I ever saw Slap Shot. That was a mistake. But, when you get to see the Hanson Brothers, it’s good no matter what. The on ice action is really good although the ending is just okay. Why is it the goalies in hockey movies seem like they are unbeatable only to be beaten so easily when the situation calls for it? Goalies deserve better.
It’s not suitable for kids as there’s a fair bit of language but if you can get past that, it’s a decent way to kill some time and watch some really hard-hitting hockey.
10) D3: The Mighty Ducks – The original Ducks are all grown up and off to college where life on and off the ice, will be very different. That about sums it up, but hey, it’s the Ducks… eventually. The movie does show what life heading to college would be really like, if you went with your entire team you grew up playing with, minus the coach. They start out as the Junior Varsity team before getting their wings back and flying high as Ducks again.
I will say, there are two parts of this movie that will get most hockey fans fired up. When the “Bash Brothers” are reunited and they go on a tear and when the coach puts the “C” on Charlie. “Make him make the first move, Conway” should be yelled on every one on one. How many goalies wish they could play out, even for just a game and score the game winning goal?
9)The Mighty Ducks 2 – This flick gets put slightly higher than the third installment because of one shot every hockey player has tried either on the ice or on the driveway: The Knuckle Puck.
Outside of that, this movie is good for kids but drives me insane as a grown up. Yeah, it’s Disney and suspending real life should be a given… but how does Canada not get to the finals? How does Banks get his wrist broken and it’s a two minute minor? How does a team get to play a rollerblade match on the streets of LA with no supervision and how the heck does the goalie get changed fast enough DURING A TIME OUT to then skate up past center (which, ask Patrick Roy) is illegal and get a shot off?
Despite that, it’s still a worth-while watch. You probably would have to make it a marathon but if it’s on tv randomly, I doubt you’d change the channel. Also, I would totally buy a pair of Air Bombay Loafers.
8) Goon 2: Last of the Enforcers – Is it a hockey movie? A love story? A tale of father and son? A man’s quest for hot dogs? All of the above. While again, some of the characters are more criminally insane and would not just be suspended but locked up, it’s still worth a watch.
A great example of how ownership can do all it can to ruin at team but how one tough, simple minded, good natured man named Doug can pull it all back together. Yes, the fight scenes are graphic and the language would make a salor blush, but as far as the story goes… yeah, they tried too hard. But seeing Ross “The Boss” Rhea and Doug on the same team, fighting side by side is pretty sweet. I’d want to be on Doug’s team any day.
Note: I’m a huge fan of Kim Coates who plays the coach. If you get a chance, check out some of his other work. Great Canadian actor.
6) The Mighty Ducks – A classic hockey movie but it really doesn’t stand the test of time. I mean, the whole premise of ‘coach gets DUI and has to coach kids’, really wouldn’t fly today (pun totally intended). You do have to suspend reality but this movie was made in 1992 which wasn’t that long ago… okay 28 years is a pretty long time but still. Sadly, when you see the Hawks, I bet it’s not too far off from how some minor hockey programs are run today.
Coaches telling kids to hurt players, strapping a goalie in the net and letting kids tee off on him and more can leave you scratching your head. Of course, if you’re from a certain age group, all that doesn’t matter, it’s still a great hockey movie. Who didn’t try the triple deke? Who didn’t have dreams of taking off your cage and helmet for a penalty shot to win the game? Who at times doesn’t pop the collar of their jacket like that mean coach from the Hawks? It’s a classic. It’s a hockey staple and one that you still quote a line or two from.
The flying V is onside but the level of interference it takes to pull it off? Get your head in the game stripes!
6)Canada Russia ’72 – A great insight into Canadian hockey history. It’s filmed like a documentary so it gives you the feel like you’re really there. I will say it’s one of my favorite hockey movies to watch and have more then perhaps any other movie on the list. It’s a two-parter with the first half showing the games that were in Canada with the second part when the team heads to Russia. There are things in there that not even hardcore hockey fans will know happened. While it’s not letter perfect, it is pretty historically accurate so you get the real sense of what that series meant to the players and the country.
I don’t know how often it is on TV but it’s worth going out and buying the DVD.
5) Mystery, Alaska – Another one of the first hockey movies I ever watched and that’s probably why it ranks so high even though it’s not a terrific hockey playing movie. Russell Crowe is clearly not often on skates but looks the part of a grizzled hockey vet. Understanding what goes on around making a game happen comes as you get older so seeing the whole town come together to make it happen and the hurdles, they need to overcome is pretty realistic.
The scenic shots from around Alaska are pretty terrific and the camera work makes it feel like they’re moving at insane speed on that open pond. It ends pretty satisfyingly despite it being a movie. I won’t spoil it but it’s what you’d expect, not what you’d hope for. Again, language warning and some scenes not suitable for kids. For the most part, it’s a film about the love of the game and how much hockey matters to not just the ones playing but to a whole community.
4) Goon – It’s like Rock’em Sock’em on steroids. The hitting is so jarring, you can feel it. The punches so real, it’ll have you lean back. The ending is as heart-warming as it is cringe worthy because of what ol’ Doug Glatt had to go through. It’s pretty great.
Most fans will have seen Goon and can quote more than a few lines, I’m sure. The hockey is great to watch, the hits sound real and sure the fighting is over the top but a few hockey people have said, fans don’t go get popcorn when there’s a fight. The love Dough has for his teammates though is what real fans enjoy about Goon. Language warning, if you didn’t already know. There’s enough love and heart and hockey to go around for most fans to really enjoy this movie.
If you have seen the movie a few times, look around at the rink. Look familiar? It should. Some of the scenes were shot at what’s now called Stride Place in Portage La Prairie. Very cool.
3)The Rocket – I’m not much for promoting the Montreal Canadiens (I’m a Leafs fan, so that scene where Conn Smythe try’s to buy Maurice Richard is embarrassing but also every time I watch, I wish Maurice would say yes. He doesn’t.) But this is an epic, historical movie with hockey as the main character. I love the game and thought I knew a lot but it wasn’t till I watched this movie that I understood what players had to go through. What it was like to be an NHL’er in the early days and how much the game has really changed. There are subtitles. There are scenes that are hard to watch but every moment shows you something. About Richard. About hockey. About the world at that time.
It’s an absolute must watch and it may even have you cheering for the Canadiens just a little bit. And if you remember the lengthy ovation Richard received a few years back (if you don’t, go to Youtube and watch it) after this movie, you’ll understand just how much he meant to the city and the game.
2) Slap Shot – The original. The Holy Grail of hockey movies. For many it’s the GOAT. It’s got so many classic scenes, so many classic lines and the Hanson Brothers!
The movie is great. Any hockey fan worth their salt knows that. It’s funny, it’s tough and my goodness is it weird to see players skating around without helmets, taking the kind of shots they do. Kids now a days might not get it. Might not understand that it was like that in leagues in the late 70’s and 80’s but learning about hockey history and being entertained is a win win. How do you not get excited when the Hanson’s finally get to go out there and show coach what they got?
Great film all the way through. It’s a classic for a reason. Go out and buy some Paul Newman Pasta Sauce. Support Reggie Dunlop. All proceeds go to charity.
1) Miracle – I grew up being so pro-Canadian that I refused to learn much about this story. I still remember crying when Canada lost the 1996 Canada Cup to the Americans. I recorded it on VHS (look it up, you kids). But eventually I grew up and when I watched Miracle, I finally understood why it was as important as it is. Why Herb Brooks will forever be a legend. Not just for his coaching but for how he put the team together. I’m a huge fan of this entire movie. From start to finish. Watching him put players through their paces to knowing what had to be done to win.
The hockey moments are sensational. The actors playing the real people do a terrific job and the fact i’s history and a true story makes it even sweeter. This is a family friendly film so get everyone together to watch. Even non-hockey fans will love it.
Brooks’ speech is still legendary and gives me goosebumps every time that part comes on.
There you go. 12 hockey movies you should watch if you haven’t already. I’m sure you have but seeing the titles and reading a bit about them will make you want to watch them again and it’s totally worth it.