One major reason the NFL is so popular is because pro football is a hard-hitting, smash-mouth sport. But it has nothing on hockey. From a consistent stream of brawls to a consistent stream of lost teeth, the ice is where real men belong when playing sports. Hockey tends to be overlooked in a sports landscape dominated by football, basketball, and baseball. Hollywood reflects this reality by often overlooking hockey in sports movies but fortunately for hockey fans, a few gems have popped up here and there over the years. These seven hockey movies will give you a taste of the icier side of sports:
No underdog story is more inspiring than the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team. "Miracle" chronicles how this ragtag group of hockey players engineered the greatest upset in sports history when they knocked off the Soviet Union on their way to capturing an Olympic gold medal. Kurt Russell gives an outstanding dramatic performance as Herb Brooks, the coach who molded these underdogs into Olympic champions.
Slap Shot (1977):
Paul Newman stars as a minor league hockey player-coach looking to save his team, the Charlestown Chiefs, from folding. The Chiefs resort to violent play and outrageous behavior to boost their popularity. The Hanson brothers steal the spotlight as the trio of goons who set the tone for the team's turnaround. More than three decades after its release, "Slap Shot" remains one of the all-time best sports comedies.
Mystery, Alaska (1999):
An all-star cast highlights this tale about a local hockey team in a small Alaskan town taking on the NHL's New York Rangers in an exhibition match. It is part of a publicity stunt and the locals, who are passionate about their hockey, relish this chance to bring their small town a huge dose of national attention. It is a fun take on the standard underdog sports team tale.
The Mighty Ducks (1992):
It's a nightmare come true for an ex-hockey player turned lawyer when he's sentenced to coach a terrible pee wee hockey team as terms of his community service. As a hockey coach, he gradually molds them into winners and they face off against an elite youth team headed by his old coach for the championship. Yeah, "The Mighty Ducks" is a standard by-the-numbers sports movie. Still, it does have some pop culture impact — especially since Walt Disney bought an NHL franchise that became the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Minor league hockey has carved out a reputation as a refuge for goons and "Goon" plays it up for laughs. The movie chronicles a nice man who becomes an enforcer for a local minor league hockey team after knocking out a player in the stands. The final fight, with a knockout punch landed on a broken ankle, is a stretch, but it is all bloody good fun.
A sword fight with hockey sticks? It's a safe bet even the most incompetent referee wouldn't let that go on. "Youngblood" pours on more cheese than Kraft does over macaroni to chronicle a teenager pursuing his hockey dreams. It is one of those forgettable 80s movies that made Rob Lowe a household name.
Happy Gilmore (1996):
Technically, "Happy Gilmore" is a golf movie. Still, hockey does play an important part in moving the plot forward. Happy is a diehard hockey fan. He dreams of making it to the NHL, but can't skate or handle the puck well enough to earn a roster spot on the local minor league team. His shot is powerful enough, though, that it makes him a driving machine on the golf course.