Hockey movies: The Stanley Cup meets Hollywood
Hollywood and hockey have a relationship as complex as this year's battle between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup championship, which will culminate in Game 7 on Wednesday after a series filled with injury-inducing hits, spectacular offensive plays, verbal taunts and a biting incident. (Sounds like a typical day in the movies blogosphere, if you ask us.)
Though the industry is full of hockey fanatics -- producers Jerry Bruckheimer and David E. Kelley, filmmaker Kevin Smith and actors such as Kiefer Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers and Cuba Gooding Jr., to name a handful -- there aren't many high-profile hockey movies. The projects that are well-known, such as 1977's "Slap Shot" starring Paul Newman and the "Mighty Ducks" movies of the 1990s, can inspire mixed feelings among hockey and movie aficionados alike. Somehow, the action on film never quite matches up with its on-ice inspiration.
And yet, there are more hockey-related movies than one might think: "Miracle." "Mystery, Alaska." "Sudden Death." "Wayne's World" features Stan Mikita's Donuts, named in homage to the Chicago Blackhawks great, and a cop named Officer Koharski, a sly reference to onetime National Hockey League referee Don Koharski, who was once assailed by a coach screaming at him, "... you fat pig. Have another doughnut!" John Wayne even starred in a hockey film, 1937's "Idol of the Crowds," in which he is coaxed into playing in the NHL to pay for an expansion of his chicken farm.
To see a gallery of memorable hockey movies, click on one of the images above. And to see the Duke himself take some awkward steps on the ice, watch the video below.
-- Scott Sandell
Photo: Michael Ontkean, left, and Paul Newman in the movie "Slap Shot." Credit: Universal Pictures.