Canadians, Hockey & Hockey Movies

November 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

Canadians, Hockey & Hockey Movies

I’m a proud Canadian and I love hockey.  I’m a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  That’s the basic information.  I’m actually shocked it isn’t featured prominently on my driver’s license.  Now, when I say fan, I mean I’m the type of person who says ‘we’ when referring to the Leafs.  ‘We’ lost a big game on Saturday night.  ‘Our’ new draft pick is kind of a big deal.  ‘We’ will win the Stanley Cup before I turn 30. (I’m 28)

I grew up in Northern Ontario where there are just as many hockey arenas as there are Tim Horton’s.  Every single one of my friends played hockey…  But I didn’t.  You see, hockey and I have always had a strange relationship.  Like many most Canadians, I know the game inside and out yet I’ve never actually suited up and taken the ice.  Other than street hockey and occasional games on outdoor rinks, I’ve never been a part of the game directly.  But that’s the beauty of this this country’s love of the sport.  You don’t have to lace up a pair of skates to love hockey.  It’s in our DNA and it found a way into mine as well.

So while I haven’t scored a goal in my life, I still I grew up surrounded by hockey.

Today, I work for a Canadian sports network and we show more hockey than any other network in this country.  There are days when we show as many as 5 regional NHL games simultaneously.  That may not sound like a lot but when you factor in pre game shows, intermissions, updates and post game shows for each game, it’s a ton of work.  It’s our job to know hockey and produce the best coverage in the world.  So it’s safe to say that as an adult, I’m still surrounded by hockey and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I MISSED THE GOLDEN GOAL

One of the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a sports fan came when Sidney Crosby scored the Golden Goal to win Hockey’s Olympic Hold Medal on home soil.  Except I missed it…

I would have loved to add my voice to the collective roar of this country when ‘we’ won that game.  Here is what Vancouver sounded like:

No, I was at home getting ready for work when USA tied it.  It was devastating because I had to leave or risk being late for my shift.  When I emerged from the subway it was over and people had flooded the streets.  There were flags everywhere.  I’ve always loved my job but on that day, I REALLY loved my job.

CANADIANS LOVE HOCKEY MOVIES TOO

A big part of my life is also devoted to movies and it’s in this area where hockey and I truly see eye to eye.  So you can imagine the impact films like The Mighty Ducks, D2, Miracle and Slapshot and more had on me.  For me, nothing beats The Mighty Ducks and D2.  I was and always will be obsessed with those movies.

“One, two, three…  Triple deke”

I can’t be the only one who paused to announce the ‘Knuckle Puck’ was imminent.  It drives goalies crazy!

The flying V was a staple in local rinks back then.  It even found it’s way into video games.  And more than ever, little league teams around the country sang ‘We Are The Champions’ after the USA Ducks won it all.

I was even humming the ‘Ducks’ theme song when I wrote the championship scene of a basketball film years ago. (Which was a badass basketball scene by the way.)

DOES GARY BETTMAN LOVE HOCKEY MOVIES?

Lately, I’ve been curious how NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman feels about two prominent hockey movies being released in near future.  Right now, fighting and hitting in hockey is a heated debate.  Players are faster and stronger than ever and it seems someone goes down with a concussion daily.  (Including ‘our’ goalie James Reimer) Does fighting belong in the game?  How can you limit head shots?  These are questions that dominate the headlines regularly.  Don Cherry weighed in recently and it blew up into a massive story.  Some people would argue that Slapshot is all about the big hits and fights but those were simpler times and it’s a different world today.

Note: How do you think Brenden Shanahan would rule the hit from behind around the 1:48 mark?  Different times indeed.

I’m sure Mr. Bettman wants the discussion and especially the injuries to stop.  Is he thrilled about new films that focus on the rougher aspects of the game?  Or will Kevin Smith’s 2 part epic Hit Somebody and Goon starring Seann William Scott prove that hockey is hockey and it’s all part of the game.

In the old days, hockey movies like The Mighty Ducks focused on the love of the game and what it’s like to be a part of a team.  Both Goon and Hit Somebody seem to focus on the spirit of the game but their stories are based on bruisers and bullies…  It’s no secret that people in my country (myself included) will flock to see these movies but will they capture the Hockey starved imaginations of Canadians?  Will they bring hockey to the forefront in the US and expand the NHL’s audience?  Will they bring up the violence in hockey debate once more?  Or will they truly recreate the hockey experience fans are addicted to?

STIFLER IS A GOON

At one point, Kevin Smith wanted Seann William Scott to star in his hockey movie but he ultimately chose Goon.  (Hopefully there are more tributes to Canada other than ‘oots, aboots and eh)  I want this movie to be a love letter to hockey fans.  Sure it’s about a fighter who doesn’t understand the game but what if it’s also about a fighter who discovers the game?

KEVIN SMITH IS A GOALIE

Hockey has found it’s way into many of Kevin Smith’s movies.  It think it’s fitting that his final directorial effort is a two part hockey film.

Hit Somebody: Home tracks the rise of a bruiser from his humble beginnings to professional hockey player.

Hit Somebody: Away is about the players pro career.

Kevin Smith is a die hard hockey fan with a true appreciation of the game and quite frankly, an honorary Canadian as a result.  He loves hockey. (and Wayne Gretzky)  So if I had to choose which film will truly capture what hockey is all about I would have to go with Hit Somebody.

XTRA | Kevin Smith, Red State & THIS Independent Filmmaker

A HOCKEY MOVIE IS A HOCKEY MOVIE

Forget the fact that both movies focus on enforcers.  Hockey fans love the big hits and the fights.  Personally, I think the league is doing a great job cracking down on cheap shots and hits to the head.  So lets get away from the violence in hockey debate and enjoy the game for what it is.  An exciting and fast sport full of moments like Crosby’s goal that make me proud to be a sports fan.

I hope both (technically there is three) of these movies deliver unique and entertaining entries into the hockey movie universe.  I think it’s about time a great hockey movie came along especially for us Canadians.  Hockey fans can be found all around the globe but the best hockey fans are Canadian hockey fans.

Like I said, hockey and I have always had a strange relationship because I never played the game.  My entire life, I’ve experience the game by watching it on television, sitting at the edge of my seat in arenas or settling in for a fantastic hockey movie. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t spend weeks mourning another year without playoff hockey Leafs!  The only thing that helps the grieving process is reliving my favorite hockey movie moments as I wait for a Stanley Cup or another moment like the Golden Goal.

Sports & Movies.  Athletic/Nerd.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HOCKEY MOVIE?