Top 5 Best Hockey Movies of All Time
Unlike football, baseball and basketball, there isn’t exactly a deep well of classic hockey movies out there. Chalk it up to the lack of marketability in the United States film market, or perhaps the fact that making a hockey flick would probably cost more than the highest-earning contract in the NHL right now (we see you, Connor McDavid). Whatever the reason, there simply aren’t enough great hockey films in this writer’s humble opinion. Despite the lack of quantity, there are certainly a few hockey films that are of very high quality. Let’s take a look…
5. Youngblood (1986)
In 1986, writer/director Peter Markle–you know, of Hot Dog the Movie fame– helmed a picture starring Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze, as well as a very young Keanu Reeves who happened to be a legit goalie during his high school days. In Youngblood, Lowe stars as Dean Youngblood, a fantastic young hockey player who dreams of playing in the NHL. To impress pro scouts, he tries to make a name for himself in the Canadian Junior Hockey circuit, where he befriends Derek Sutton (Swayze). Along the way, Youngblood encounters Carl Racki, a bruiser who ends up severely injuring Sutton and causing Youngblood to rethink his feelings about the sport. Thanks to a pep talk–and some fighting lessons–from his father, Dean returns to the ice for a rematch with Racki, ultimately winning an important game and avenging the death…uh, injury…of his good friend.
4. Goon (2011)
If you happen to just glance at the box art for the Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg-written Goon, you might assume that this is some terrible, C-list movie that has no business being on your watch list. You’d be wrong. This 2011 film starring Sean William Scott, Baruchel, Alison Pill, and Live Schreiber is worth an hour and a half of your time. Scott stars as Doug Glatt, a simple but kind and sweet bar bouncer stumbles into the world of hockey after showing his enforcing skills in a fight at a minor-league game. Glatt ends up being assigned to a minor-league team to protect a rattled potential superstar named Guy LaFlamme, who was badly concussed by Schreiber’s Ross “The Boss” Rhea. Doug’s hard-hitting ways make him popular with his teammates and fans, but it’s an impending face-off with Rhea that drives the film. The movie culminates with the two enforcers dropping gloves and, well, you’ll just have to watch to see how it turns out. (There’s a sequel, so obviously it turns out okay)
3. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
If there’s any hockey movies that non-hockey fans have seen, it’s The Mighty Ducks. The 1992 film stars Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, a phenomenal defense attorney who is sentenced to community service after a drunk driving arrest. What’s his required community service, you ask? Coaching the local pee-wee hockey team. Bombay turns the likes of Joshua Jackson (of Dawson’s Creek fame), Danny Tamberelli, and Jussie Smollett (of TV’s Empire) into a well-oiled machine, one that is able to beat the Hawks–Bombay’s former team–in the PeeWee championship, rejuvenating his love of the sport and desire to pursue it on a professional level.
2. Slapshot (1977)
The oldest film on this list comes in the form of Slapshot, a 1977 picture starring Paul Newman. Newman plays Reggie Dunlop, a past-his-prime player-coach for the Charlestown Chiefs in the Federal League (spoiler: not a real league). Recent acquisitions, the Hanson Brothers, prove to be assets for Dunlop, as their violent and goonish play puts fans in the seats and wins on the board for the Chiefs in what could be the final season for the struggling franchise. Hijinks ensue, resulting in a welcomed outcome for Dunlop and the Chiefs.
1. Miracle (1980)
Perhaps the best-made, best-written film of the bunch, Miracle tells the story of the 1980 United States Men’s Hockey Team that took on the Soviets in the Winter Olympics. Starring Kurt Russell as University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks, Miracle provides a look at how Brooks and the Americans come to defeat the highly-touted, nearly unbeatable Russian hockey team. Dubbed the Miracle on Ice, the U.S. defeated the Russians and went on to win the gold medal after a 4-2 win over Finland. Also starring Patricia Clarkson and Noah Emmerich, Miracle is an absolute joy to watch and one that every hockey fan should check out.