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?

The Final Rainy Sunday: The Beauty Of Lazy Day Movies

November 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

The Final Rainy Sunday: The Beauty Of Lazy Day Movies

Rainy Sundays was one of the first features I created for this blog.

It was about appreciated those lazy days when you put on your favorite movies and escape.

Who doesn’t love a good Sunday afternoon indoors watching movies?

Personally, my ideal Rainy Sunday includes a good drama, a comforter, a massive sandwich or pizza and some form of candy.  It’s even better when there’s enough time to sneak in a double feature.

What movies do you love to watch on rainy days?

After more than 30 picks, I’ve decided to move on so this will be the FINAL Rainy Sunday post.

Below you’ll find the complete Rainy Sunday Series.

Perhaps, I’ll resurrect the feature someday but I think I’ve made my point.  There’s nothing like a good movie on a lazy day.

Beauty & The Beast

My Life

Man On Fire

Sideways

The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai Tom Cruise The Beauty Of Lazy Day Movies

Toy Story 1 & 2

There Will Be Blood

Gangs Of New York

Mortal Kombat

True Lies

An Evening With Kevin Smith

A Beautiful Mind

Field Of Dreams

FIELD OF DREAMS, Ray Liotta, Kevin Costner Lazy Day Movies

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I Am Sam

The Shawshank Redemption

The Muppet Movie

Sneakers

Alice In Wonderland

Crimson Tide

Jerry Maguire

The Lion King

Movies to watch on a lazy day The Lion King

Return To Paradise

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Hook

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Dazed and Confused

Ninja Turtles

Movies to watch on a lazy day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Gladiator

Christmas Vacation

A Bronx Tale

Cool Runnings

Uncle Buck

The Mighty Ducks

The Sandlot

Movies To Watch on a lazy day The Sandlot

My personal favorite on this list still has to be The Sandlot.

To me, there is no better lazy day movie.

10 Flicks: Movies With Championship Games

May 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm

10 Flicks Movie Lists: Movies With Awesome Training Scenes

It’s been a little while since I put up a 10 Flicks list.  It’s been even longer since I wrote about my favorite sports movies.

There are honestly so many incredible movies about virtually every single sport you can name.  What’s surprising is how many amazing movies don’t actually feature championship games.

Seeing as how I work at a sports network, I figured I’d ask my co-workers to help me out and we came up with a list of 47 movies with championship games.

They don’t necessarily have to be victories.  Just thrilling finals that live up to the hype.

Here are my favorite 10:

Hoosiers

Hoosiers

The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks

Remember The Titans

Remember The Titans

Bad News Bears (1976)

Bad News Bears

The Waterboy

The Waterboy

A League Of Their Own

a league of their own

Dodgeball

dodgeball

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

D2: The Mighty Ducks

D2 The Mighty Ducks

Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues

Click here for more 10 Flicks Movie Lists.

10 Flicks: Movies With Awesome Training Scenes

March 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

10 Flicks Movie Lists: Movies With Awesome Training Scenes

Statement: Watching people training hard for things is entertaining.

A quick scan of this list will reveal a group of movies with vastly different types of training and while some may not be incredibly inspiring, they are each entertaining in their own way.

Here are 10 movies with awesome training scenes:

Remember The Titans

Remember The Titans Movie

In the category of inspirational, Remember The Titans is right up there with the best of them.  Watching the team train on screen and then cheering them on to victory is what makes these types of movies sensational.

The Recruit

The Recruit Pacino Farrell

It was clear to me when I started this list that spy movies would be represented in some way. What I love about The Recruit is how well the training sequences are integrated into the overall story.  Plus, I can watch Al Pacino in just about anything.

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers Neil Patrick Harris

This is probably a surprise addition to some but I find this movie entertaining.  It definitely wins the award for most original training scenes.

“Get your hand on that wall!”

The Guardian

The Guardian Movie Costner

This movie came out of no where and really impressed. Some of the best movies with training sequences take place in specialty schools where exceptional people excel.  The Guardian takes you through the grueling training the coast guard puts it’s new recruits through.  It’s fascinating to watch.

The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks Quack

Take your pick.  D1 and D2 both provide some pretty great training sequences.  They are some of the funniest training scenes you’ll ever see.  The Mighty Ducks is one of my favorite sports movies but I give the edge to D2 this time.

Check out Rainy Sundays: The Mighty Ducks

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby Boxing

Nobody should be shocked that a boxing movie made this list.  Million Dollar Baby is a prime example of the heights dedication allows you to reach. Being passionate about something and putting in the work will always bring results.

Is it weird that I feel like jogging right now?

The Matrix

“I know kung fu.”

The Matrix Neo

Easily the coolest movie on this list. Who wouldn’t want a giant needle rammed into their skulls in order to learn how to fight in a matter of seconds?  Imagine the possibilities.

Full Metal Jacket

And the award for bad ass training goes to…

Full Metal Jacket Hartman Training

I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen this movie all the way through but I’ve definitely seen the first 30 minutes about a million times.  I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was in that unit and had to deal with Sergeant Hartman.

I think I would have laughed.  Which would have had drastic effects on my well being.

The Karate Kid

karate kid ralph macchio mr miyagi

I’ve written a lot about those who are training on this list but what about the trainers?  Who doesn’t love Mr. Miyagi!

When I was a kid, I considered the crane kick a part of my fighting arsenal.  Who’s with me?

Karate Kid Crane

Rocky

Rocky Training

Boxing.  The kings of the training movies. How could I leave Rocky off of this list.  A series of 5 movies about defying the odds and becoming a champion.  Rocky is one of the most inspirational characters in history. Watching him train is equally inspirational.