Sports are the basis to some of the most amazing stories (real or fictional). You can find these every day within the media and on the big screen.
The movie business generates over $38 billion in total revenue. It is an industry that is a reflection of the world we live in. Movies that involve sports are some of the biggest box office successes of all-time. They are stories that are very relatable because they typically involve winners and losers. They are movies that involve an individual or a team coming together working towards one common goal.
There are far fewer hockey movies in comparison to all others unfortunately. It is another representation of why hockey is the hardest, most competitive and best sport. All other sports are on land which makes it easier to find actors to play those athletes. Hockey is played on ice, therefore you either have hockey players play each character or have stunt doubles.
With all of that said, hockey has made for some of the best sports movies.
The Mighty Ducks
A trilogy inspired the name of the expansion Ducks in 1993. They’re kind of the movies “we all grew up on,” Connor McDavid said (NHL.com). I feel that what we love most about them is the humor in the amount of oversights in each movie and how sort of not hockey it is. Nevertheless, if you love hockey, you love the Mighty Ducks.
The first movie was the most successful and most remembered. It tells the story of a lawyer (Gordon Bombay/Emilio Estevez) sentenced to community service in coaching PeeWee hockey for drunk driving. Most of the kids couldn’t skate the first practice he arrived. However, they end up winning the PeeWee League Championship against the rival Hawks who beat them by 17 in their first meeting.
The miracle PeeWee league champs from a year before are all of a sudden now set to represent Team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games in D2. We are introduced to the knuckle puck, which would definitely not “drive goalies crazy” as Russ Tyler/Keenan Thompson indicates. The players in the final shootout have different handedness than the ones in the game for blatant stunt double recognition. Team USA defeats Iceland (who is shockingly the best team in the tournament) in the end after losing to them 12-1.
The final chapter has the Ducks minus Adam Banks/Vincent Larusso now apart of a JV team as they enter high school. They then prepare for a showdown against the school’s varsity team, which is odd after competing against “the world’s best”. Charlie Conway/Joshua Jackson (team captain) also becomes a superstar thinking about playing juniors after being a healthy scratch in D2’s championship game.
The movies collected 119 million at the box office and continues to inspire young hockey players all across North America.
Slap Shot will also go down as one of the most memorable hockey movies of all-time. The film was released in 1977 in the wake of the Broadstreet Bullies (Philadelphia Flyers) collecting back-to-back Stanley Cups. The story highlighted everything that made most inactive fans of the sport casual fans at the very least. It is the tale of a suffering hockey franchise (Charlestown Chiefs) and their attempt to attract more fans essentially.
Many non-avid followers of the NHL are attracted to hockey due to the physicality and the fighting. The Charlestown Chiefs found success through relentless fighting and violence. It’s a simple plot, but it highlights many modern day issues all teams deal with today. An organization’s success is fueled by its fans and must always be looking to attract new supporters. Not everyone who enjoys hockey is a purist and Slap Shot is a movie everyone enjoys whether you’re a fan or not at all.
The Hanson Brothers are also immovable fixtures in the minds of hockey fans. These characters were the force driving the Chiefs back to prominence in their town. You will never be surprised at someone dressed up as one of them at any arena. The Hansons embody every relentless attribute to any hockey player at any level. They were not the main characters in the movie, but their ora is what is most remembered about the story.
The film collected over 28 million at the box office, which is equivalent to 116 million today with the 3.62 inflation percentage over the time period. Slap Shot will live on and be remembered forever within the hockey world and in pop culture as a whole.
Miracle is number one on the all-time hockey movie list. It is the story that is not just the greatest hockey moment in history, but the greatest sports moment of all-time.
The United States won the gold medal in hockey at the Winter Olympics in 1980. Russia had won the previous four and was considered the best team in the world by far at the time. Herb Brooks/Kurt Russell (Team USA Head Coach) brought a divided group of college players together to defeat them. The story has everything you would want in a movie. The fact that it’s true separates itself.
Many deemed Herb Brooks’s goal of winning gold to be a lofty one. The Soviets had a 77% chance of winning the gold medal coming into that olympics. The odds for the Americans however reached an unbelievable 1,000-1 at one point. It was beyond comprehension mathematically and logically. The Russians had even beaten the Americans 10-3 three days before the tournament began in Lake Placid.
You only see stories like this unfold in the movies. We remarkably see this one on the big screen and in our history. I remember screaming in the movie theater as Jim Craig was interfered with on the Russians go-ahead goal in the second as an eight year old. I wasn’t as familiar with the story as I am now and I always remember that moment because of how this movie makes one feel. Watching the Russian game before a big game for my home team has become routine and it never gets old.
Miracle collected 64 million at the box office in 2004, which is good for 84 million in 2017. It is a story that will live in the minds of both sports fans and proud Americans forever.
The entertainment business
Movies and sports are two massive industries in the entertainment business. They are massive because of the revenue they produce. However, the two are as big as they are because of the emotions they invoke in humans. As humans we are obsessed with feeling good and we spend money on what makes us feel good.
I go to sporting events and movies to feel. The feelings are within the real word for sports and an escape for movies. I consider both of them very big parts of my life, but also consider them to be very similar.
Hockey is very relative to one’s life as I have discussed before. It is a sport that has made for great cinema, which as we just noted a very big part of our lives.
“From Our Haus to Yours”