Some might call it life imitating art, but news of the Slapshot-milking Johnstown Chiefs’ probable relocation to South Carolina cannot be that sad, right? The people of Johnstown voted to name the team after the popular movie in 1988 and so the club spent an impressive 22 years of minor league hockey in the small town. (thanks to Tapeleg for correcting me regarding the history of the team’s name).
Most of Slapshot’s one-liners are genuinely unpublishable, but here is one anthology of the film’s best quotes. Instead of going over the movie’s best lines, let’s instead look at which other mainstream* hockey movies are worth seeing (and which absolutely are not).
Other hockey movies worth seeing
The first Mighty Ducks – Yeah, they’re by no means works of art but no movies converted more kids to hockey fans than these goofy Disney films. Besides, every self respecting American hockey fan needs to make occasional knuckle-puck and Flying V jokes.
Miracle – Kurt Russell is fantastic as Herb Brooks. The hockey scenes are thrilling and beautifully choreographed. The speeches are amazing (“you’ll take it to your grave!”). Most importantly, you can imagine your team doing Herbies after a bad game even though that never happens in the NHL.
The Rocket – It’s not a perfect film, but the cinematography is fantastic and Sean Avery gets pummeled in it.
Happy Gilmore – Remember when Adam Sandler was bearable-to-funny? Apollo Creed and Ben Stiller really bring this one home with their absurd cameos. Bob Barker was amusing but started a discouraging trend of stunt casting in comedies.
Hockey movies to avoid
The Love Guru – Mike Myers, please stop. Please. Stop.
Youngblood – Look, I understand enjoying films ironically but liking this movie borders on masochism.
D3 – The second unnecessary sequel to The Mighty Ducks. Wow, this is really bad.
Sudden Death – I’m a Penguins fan, but seriously, this movie is atrocious.
(Further reading: The Hockey News’ best and worst hockey movies and Ryan Miller’s five worst hockey movies.)
* – There are some documentaries that are supposed to be pretty good, but I haven’t seen all of them.