One of our very first post all those years ago was a post on the top ten hockey movies of all-time. We thought that it was time to revisit our list of the best hockey movies ever. The classics are still there. We thought about opening it up to “hockey programs” which would open it up to shows such as “He Shoots He Scores” and “Shoresy” but in order to be consistent we wanted to keep it to our favourite hockey movies.
Ranking the Best Hockey Movies of All-Time
Looking for a good hockey movie to watch during the holiday season? The Hockey Fanatic presents our choices for the best hockey movies of all-time.
#10. Hockey Night (1984) – when I was a kid I loved this movie. It was released on CBC so many fans in the United States may have not had the chance to see this movie. As per Wikipedia, the plot goes like this:
“Cathy Yarrow arrives in Parry Sound, Ontario with her mother and sister from Toronto following the separation of her parents. As the town has no team for girls, she attends tryouts for the local boys’ hockey team, and wins a spot as one of the team’s goaltenders. Even after she plays well in the first couple of games, the team sponsor indicates displeasure at having a female on the team, and threatens to withdraw his sponsorship. The young players must then decide whether to continue with or without Cathy.”
Cathy was played by Megan Follows as the movie also stars Canadian actors Yannick Bisson and Rick Moranis. It’s a classic. You can often find it on Crave or it’s available on Apple TV.
#9. Goon (2011) – Seann William Scott of American Pie fame plays Doug Glatt a bouncer/hockey enforcer with a big heart. The movie is not appropriate for younger ages, but has its moments and is quite funny. Goon was directed by Michael Dowse, written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, and stars Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Marc-André Grondin, Kim Coates and Eugene Levy. The film concerns the exceedingly nice but somewhat dimwitted Doug Glatt (Scott), who unexpectedly finds personal and professional fulfillment after becoming the enforcer for a minor league ice hockey team. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goon_(film) . Catch the trailer here (for mature audiences only):
Check you movie channels for viewing options. You can also check out Goon on Crave or other streaming services.
#8. The Rocket (2005) – when you think about tenacity you think of Maurice “Rocket Richard”. The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story) is a French-Canadian biopic about the ice hockey player Maurice “The Rocket” Richard. The film depicts an era widely considered a cornerstone of the NHL’s history. It shows the life of ‘The Rocket’ beginning with his years as a teenager, his ascension to the Montreal Canadiens, up to the Richard Riot, showing a full spectrum of Richard’s career. It ends the year before Richard brought Montréal to an unrivaled record of five Stanley Cup Championships in a row. Roy Dupuis plays Maurice Richard in this classic biopic.
Check out tvguide.com for where you can watch The Rocket.
#7. Net Worth (1995) – another great movie that originally aired on the CBC in Canada.
Based on the true story of the Detroit Red Wings’ Ted Lindsay, a nine-time NHL All-Star who, along with Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens, headed up a small group of players in a battle to protect the rights of players against monopolistic NHL owners of the 1950s era, including Bruce Norris of the Red Wings, Conn Smythe of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and James D. Norris of the Chicago Black Hawks as well as NHL president, Clarence Campbell.
The film focuses on the conflict between Lindsay and Jack Adams, Detroit’s general manager, as well as Lindsay’s struggle to win over the trust and support of the players, including Lindsay’s long-time teammate, the legendary Gordie Howe, amidst coercion and threats from the league and the owners. Lindsay’s efforts would ultimately result in the formation of the NHL Players Association.
#6. The Russian Five (2019) – Directed by Joshua Riehl, this documentary is a must watch. It covers the story of the Detroit Red Wings and how in the late 1980s, the Red Wings work to finally break their decades long Stanley Cup drought by extracting players from the Soviet Union, and in the process, changing the way North American hockey is played. It is an engaging look at hockey behind the Iron Curtain and how the Red Wings organization got players to defect from Russia to form one one the NHL’s best teams of the 1990’s. Appearances by: Jeff Daniels, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Wayne Gretzky
Buy or rent The Russian Five.
#5. Miracle (2004) – the feel good story about the 1980 US Men’s Olympic hockey team. Kurt Russell stars as Herb Brooks the legendary coach of the Miracle on Ice team.
Herb Brooks, head ice hockey coach at the University of Minnesota, interviews with the United States Olympic Committee for the national team coach’s job, discussing his philosophy on how to beat the dominant Soviet team who have won the gold medal in the previous four Olympics, calling for changes to the practice schedule and strategy. The USOC is skeptical, but gives Brooks the job.
Brooks meets assistant coach Craig Patrick at the tryouts in Colorado Springs. Brooks selects a preliminary roster of 26, indifferent to the preferences of senior USOC hockey officials. USOC executive director Walter Bush believes Brooks has their best interests at heart, and reluctantly agrees to take the heat from the committee.
During the initial practice, tempers flare as forward Rob McClanahan and defenseman Jack O’Callahan get into a fight based on college rivalry. After the fight, Brooks tells all the players that they are to let go of old rivalries and start becoming a team. He has each player tell their name, hometown and which team they play for. As practices continue, Brooks uses unorthodox methods to reduce the roster to 20 players. The players themselves worry about being cut at any time, knowing that Brooks himself was the last player cut from the US squad that won the 1960 Olympic gold medal, so he will do anything to win. What happens next is hockey history…
#4. Mystery Alaska (1999) – directed by Jay Roach, Mystery Alaska is about an amateur ice hockey team from the fictional small town of Mystery that plays an exhibition game against the National Hockey League (NHL)’s New York Rangers. It was shot in Canmore, Alberta. The cast includes Russel Crowe as Sheriff John Biebe, Hank Azaria as Charles Danner and Burt Reynolds as Judge Walter Burns. Check out the trailer on YouTube:
#3. The Mighty Ducks (1992) – this is a great hockey movie that you can watch with the kids as this movie was distributed by Disney.
Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is a successful but arrogant Minneapolis defense attorney. After his 30th successful case, he celebrates by going out drinking, but is arrested for drunk driving and sentenced to 500 hours of community service by coaching the local “District 5” Pee-Wee hockey team. Bombay has an unpleasant history with the sport: as a youth in 1973, he was the Hawks’ star player but, struggling with the loss of his father, in the championship game, with the score tied and only a few seconds remaining, Bombay missed a penalty shot, sending the game to overtime, where the Hawks lost, disappointing his hyper-competitive coach, Jack Reilly (Lane Smith).
Bombay meets the District 5 team, and realizes the children have no practice facility, equipment, or ability. Their first game with Bombay at the helm is against the Hawks, with Reilly still the Hawks’ head coach. District 5 is soundly defeated, 17-0, as Reilly demands the Hawks run up the score. What happens next? You’ll have to check it out to see.
#2. Youngblood (1986) – let’s go… pretty boy…”. Alright so there is a little cheese in this one but really a great cast with Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Rob Lowe as Dean Youngblood. As we said before, the penalty shot move is worth the price of admission alone. The plot is a classic one:
“Dean Youngblood, a 17-year-old farmhand from rural New York, has dreams of playing in the National Hockey League. Dean voices these dreams to his father who disapproves; however, Dean’s brother, Kelly, convinces their father to relent. Dean travels to Canada to try out for the Hamilton Mustangs where he demonstrates his offensive skills but displays a lack of physical toughness.
Dean earns the nickname “Pretty Boy” brought on by his rivalry with fellow hockey player Carl Racki. Racki, who is competing for a spot, engages him in a fight and quickly defeats him. Despite this, the Mustangs head coach, a former NHL All-Star, selects Dean for the team. Dean also begins a flirtation with the coach’s daughter, Jessie.
After his team mentor, Derek Sutton (played by Patrick Swayze), is deliberately injured by Racki (now with a rival team), Dean returns home. His brother inspires him to keep playing, and his brother teaches him some fighting skills off of the ice, his father teaches him on the ice. Dean returns to the team, ready to confront Racki in the final game of the Memorial Cup playoffs.” Cue the penalty shot.
You’ll want to set your PVR for this one. If you cannot find it on TV you may be able to stream it via Amazon Prime.
#1. Slapshot (1977) – ahh there might not ever be a hockey movie that knocks the holy grail of hockey movies off of the pedestal. “Who owns da Chiefs?” It might be a little raunchy and not proper for today’s cancel culture society, but it is a classic work that is still considered one of the best hockey movies of all-time. There are so many classic scenes. The plot goes like this: In the small New England town of Charlestown, the local mill is about to lay off 10,000 workers. The town’s minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs, is doing no better. After years of failure, this will be the team’s last season. Exasperated player and coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) lets the club’s recent acquisitions, the Hanson Brothers, play. The brothers’ actively violent and thuggish style of play excites the fans. Dunlop retools the team, using violence to draw big crowds.
The Hanson Brothers are just part of the fun. Don’t take our word for it, see what critics have to say about Slap Shot after all of these years.
An absolute classic movie. Paul Newman as player/coach Reggie Dunlop is one of the great roles and characters of all-time. It is rated “R” so you might not want to watch it with younger kids. You can stream or watch Slapshot on Crave, YouTube, Amazon and other streaming services.