This Spring, there's also another reason for hockey fans to celebrate. There's finally another entertaining hockey movie coming to the big screen with Goon set to open in the U.S. on April 13. Canada, as is usual with most things hockey related, is ahead of the curve with the movie already in theaters north of the border.
Goon is a fictionalized version of Massachusetts native Doug Smith's unlikely career as a minor-league enforcer. It may not challenge for any Oscars, but it is definitely a worthy addition to the growing catalog of quality hockey films.
Hockey doesn't have the Hollywood history of other sports like baseball, football and even boxing, but the sport's celluloid contributions have been impressive. What follows is one man's opinion of the greatest of those efforts, with a quick disclaimer. Those sequels to Slap Shot were never actually made, regardless of what evidence you may find in DVD bargain bins.
And I wish I could dismiss the Mighty Ducks series as easily, but it's hard to deny their existence after an NHL team was named after them. But I can certainly keep those Disney atrocities to old-time hockey off my personal list of the all-time great hockey films.
So feel free to enter a Mighty Ducks-free zone of hockey's greatest moments on film in our Top 10 list of the best hockey movies, which thanks to the growing number of entries now includes a hat trick of honorable mentions in addition to 10 films that made the final cut.
Honorable Mention: Sudden Death – Die Hard in a hockey rink, one of the true guilty pleasures of the 90s action film boom featured Jean-Claude Van Damme's fire marshal preventing Powers Booth from blowing up the Igloo during the Stanley Cup Finals, and even managing to get in a little action in goal for the Penguins.
Honorable Mention: Happy Gilmore – While technically more of a golf movie, Adam Sandler's title character never gave up his hockey dreams. And hey, he did still hold two records – the most time spent in the penalty box and the only guy ever to take off his skate and try to stab somebody.
Honorable Mention: Bon Cop, Bad Cop – One of the more obscure hockey movies of the past decade, at least this side of the Canadian border, is worth searching out, especially for hockey fans frustrated by the direction of the game of late. A Canadian take on the classic buddy-cop action comedy template has detectives from Quebec and Ontario teaming up to track down a serial killer targeting hockey executives. Can they stop him before he gets pint-sized commissioner Harry Buttman? Does anybody really want them too?