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The best hockey movies to watch during season pause

'Slap Shot' and 'Happy Gilmore' are classics, but there are plenty more to see

by Dan O'Leary @DanOLeary25 / Staff Writer

The NHL season is paused due to the coronavirus pandemic so with no live games on television, here are some of the best hockey movies to occupy your time. 


"Slap Shot" (1977)

You may recognize: Paul Newman, Strother Martin

Plot: The mother of all wild raunchy sports comedies features Newman as Reggie Dunlop, an aging minor league player/coach who resorts to goonery in order to boost attendance for the failing Charlestown Chiefs.

Famous line: "What are you guys doing?"

"Putting on the foil." - Steve Hanson

What to watch for: The cartoonish violence and R-rated insults that pepper the film make it perhaps the best-known hockey movie of all time. It is simultaneously ridiculous and unforgettable.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Tooth Fairy" (2010)

You may recognize: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal, Stephen Merchant

Plot: Derek Thompson (Johnson), a mean minor-league hockey player known for knocking out the teeth of opponents, must pay for his misdeeds by becoming an actual Tooth Fairy in this kiddie flick.

Famous line: "Does this tutu make my butt look big?" -- Derek Thompson

What to watch for: Thompson spends so much time in the penalty box, he has his own team-themed recliner that he can lounge on while serving his time.

Watch: Youtube Video


"The Rocket" (2005)

You may recognize: Roy Dupuis, Stephen McHattie, Sean Avery, Vincent Lecavalier

Plot: A biopic based on the life of Hockey Hall of Famer Maurice "Rocket" Richard. It focuses on the obstacles and injuries he overcame, as well as the target on his back throughout his playing career, highlighted by his Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup five consecutive times.

Famous line: "Richard, people are saying you are a waste of money. A waste of money! You're playing tonight." - Montreal coach Dick Irvin

What to watch for: The movie opens by portraying the "Richard Riot," an incident from March 17, 1955, when Canadiens fans in attendance at the Forum rioted in reaction to Richard's suspension, which lasted for the remainder of the 1954-55 season, including the playoffs. Tensions are eased by Richard himself, who accepts his suspension and vows to return the following season with a Stanley Cup (they would go on to beat the Detroit Red Wings).

Watch: Youtube Video


"Waking up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story" (2005)

You may recognize: Tom McCamus, Victoria Snow, Kris Holden-Ried

Plot: Based on the best-selling book "On Family, Hockey and Healing," written by Wayne Gretzky's father, Walter, the movie takes a look at the process of recovering from a stroke that nearly killed him but also left him unable to remember his son, who we all know as The Great One.

Famous line: "Where it's going, not where it's been." -- Wally Gretzky, remembering advice he gave Wayne about seeing the ice.

What to watch for: After the movie concludes, some real-life footage of Walter Gretzky rolls with the closing credits and shows him talking with players, signing autographs for kids and enjoying himself on the ice.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Miracle" (2004)

You may recognize: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson

Plot: Coach Herb Brooks (Russell) puts together a team of young U.S. amateur players to try and upset the powerful Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

Famous line: "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right ones." -- Herb Brooks

What to watch for: Even though you know the outcome, the journey getting there is so much fun you still end up on the edge of your seat. Russell's portrayal of Brooks, the gruff but still brilliant hockey mind, is one of the best performances of his career.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Mystery, Alaska" (1999)

You may recognize: Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Mary McCormack, Burt Reynolds, Michael McKean

Plot: A small-town pond hockey team led by John Biebe (Crowe) ends up in the game of a lifetime, outdoors in Alaska against the New York Rangers.

Famous line: "Every ex-player turned coach says that they prefer coaching over playing. Why would they all say that? Because they can't play." -- John Biebe

What to watch for: The plot may be far-fetched, but the movie is not without its charm as the rag-tag band of misfits comes together as a team. It is also far and away the best movie ever made that features an NHL team playing in Alaska.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Happy Gilmore" (1996)

You may recognize: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Carl Weathers, Julie Bowen, Kevin Nealon, Verne Lundqvist, Bob Barker, Ben Stiller

Plot: Hockey player Happy Gilmore (Sandler), who isn't the strongest skater, uses his incredible slap shot to become golf's longest driver. He makes the PGA Tour while trying to earn enough money to buy back his grandmother's foreclosed house.

Famous line: "364 days until next hockey tryouts! I gotta toughen up!" -- Happy Gilmore, while standing in front of a pitching machine and getting hit multiple times by baseballs.

What to watch for: The absurd story is grounded in reality (many hockey players are also excellent golfers), but Sandler's outlandish behavior, foul mouth and the contrast with his loving behavior toward his grandmother make this wacky movie a surprisingly sweet one.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Sudden Death" (1995)

You may recognize: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J. Berry, Iceburgh

Plot: During Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, terrorists take the Vice President of the United States and others in his luxury suite hostage; they plan to blow up the building at the end of the game if a ransom isn't paid. Fans don't know they are in danger, but former fireman Darren McCord (Van Damme) does. With his kids at the game, he has to save the day.

Famous line: "Have you had any contact with the aggressors?"

"I killed two. Is that contact?" -- Darren McCord

What to watch for: This one delivers what it promises, though it doesn't promise much more than a lot of action and gory bad guy deaths. You can probably visualize this movie's entire storyboard in your mind without ever seeing it, but then you would be cheated out of Van Damme fighting the Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, and playing goalie long before the David Ayres-era of EBUGs.

Watch: Youtube Video


"The Mighty Ducks" (1992)

You may recognize: Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson

Plot: A selfish lawyer named Gordon Bombay (Estevez) is forced by a court to coach a terrible pee wee hockey team as part of his community service sentence. He learns to love the team and game again.

Famous line: "You think losing is funny?"

'Well, not at first, but once you get the hang of it." -- player Les Averman to Bombay

What to watch for: Both a formulaic sports movie and kid's movie, it still manages to be charming and funny to hockey fans of all ages. It even spawned two sequels and an NHL team.

Then there's this tweet:

Tweet from @AnaheimDucks: ������ FLYING V ALERT ������

Watch: Youtube Video


"The Cutting Edge" (1992)

You may recognize: Moira Kelly, D.B. Sweeney, Terry O'Quinn

Plot: Retired, rough-and-tumble hockey player Doug Dorsey (Sweeney), teams up with figure skater Kate Moseley (Kelly), who has an icy personality, to form an unlikely duo that goes on to compete in the Winter Olympics and, of course, fall in love.

Famous line: "I don't like to see her upset."

"If I were you I'd invest in blindfolds." -- Doug Dorsey

What to watch for: It may be a paint-by-numbers rom-com from the 1990s, but Kelly is perfect as the frigid figure skater and Sweeney has a pre-Paul Rudd era Paul Rudd-ness that plays well despite what, at times, is underwhelming dialogue.

Watch: Youtube Video


"Youngblood" (1986)

You may recognize: Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves

Plot: Hotshot American prospect Dean Youngblood (Lowe) is sent to a struggling Canadian junior team to turn it around while running afoul of opposing goons and the coach's daughter along with his wild band of teammates, .

Famous line: "You know what Gordie Howe got for a signing bonus? A team jacket!" -- coach Murray Chadwick

What to watch for: It's strange to see three future leading men (including the late Swayze), in a raunchy, coming-of-age story before any of them really launched their careers.

Watch: Youtube Video

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