It has been quite a few years since a really good, fun hockey movie has hit theaters here in the US. That’s about to change on Friday when Michael Dowse’s Goon — which currently has a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes — comes to the big screen. Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Knocked Up), the film stars Seann William Scott (American Pie) as an incredibly nice (but not so bright) guy who lands a job as the enforcer on a minor league hockey team, and it’s a hilarious take on hockey the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1977 classic Slap Shot. It also gave us a great excuse to run down some of the greatest cinematic hockey scenes of all time. Be sure to let us know your favorite in the comments.
A young Rob Lowe stars as Dean Youngblood, a seventeen-year-old NHL hopeful who moves from his parents’ farm in rural New York to play in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. He’s quick and agile, but no match physically for players like the brutal and violent Carl Racki (George J. Finn). And when it all comes down to the final game of the Memorial Cup (against, of course, Racki’s Thunder Bay Bombers), Youngblood proves himself with a beautiful game-winning slow-motion penalty shot. That’s your money shot, but it’s worth sticking around for the rest of the film as Youngblood and Racki go at it in a knockdown, drag-out fight that has the entire crowd on their feet.
Despite how terrible the Mighty Ducks films are in retrospect, this is still a dramatic and nostalgically fun scene. Not only do we get to see the classic “Flying V” formation that (if you’re a kid of the ’80s or ’90s) everyone seems to remember, but you also get to see a baby-faced Joshua Jackson take the dramatic game-winning penalty shot. It may not be a great hockey movie, but it’s certainly a memorable hockey moment.
There may not be a whole lot of hockey played in this Wayne’s World scene, but watching Wayne and Garth move the street hockey net every time a car drives through their street in Aurora, Illinois brings back some great memories of doing the exact same thing on our own suburban street. The film also gets bonus points for making the duo’s favorite hangout a donut shop (with a huge hockey player on top) named after the great Chicago Blackhawks player Stan Mikita. “Game on!”
Who among the working stiffs hasn’t wanted to close up shop and play hockey on the roof? We’ve all been there, right? Well, one of the things that makes Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) so cool in Kevin Smith’s debut film is that he actually has the cojones to do it. It’s not the prettiest hockey you’ll ever see, but it’s a passionately played, fun game that lasts all of twelve minutes until an angry customer blasts the only ball off the roof and into a sewer drain.
The hilarity of Bob and Doug McKenzie (Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis) knows no bounds and while Strange Brew isn’t a hockey film by any means, it is a purely Canadian film (and we all know how much those Canadians love their hockey). It does, nonetheless, have a truly memorable hockey scene. Picture a group of brainwashed hockey playing Stormtroopers. Now picture them assembling to play a quick game. Now picture that game with some killer synthesizer music in the background. It’s a thing of beauty, Hosers.
The 1999 uplifting dramedy Mystery, Alaska ends with a long, entertaining game of ice hockey between the small town Mystery team and the big, bad New York Rangers. It’s your typical David versus Goliath game that’s much more competitive than it should be while still ending just about how you’d expect. The best moment, however, comes in the hockey equivalent of a slow clap as the Rangers show their appreciation for a game well-played by tapping their sticks on the ice as a sign of respect.
Kevin Smith clearly loves his hockey. The man incorporates the sport in some way in nearly every one of his films. We could easily have included Mallrats and Dogma in this list, but we decided to go easy on the Smith. The hockey scene in Chasing Amy doesn’t focus on the hockey itself, but rather uses the bloody, violent sport to emphasize the blowout fight between Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) which spills out into the parking lot with Jones detailing some of the previous sexual exploits that earned her the nickname “Finger Cuffs.”
When Mike Peters (Jon Favreau) and Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn) decide to stop off at their friend Sue’s (Patrick Van Horn) apartment for a little pizza and Sega Genesis hockey, the conversation quickly turns to Trent’s disappointment with the fact that the new version of the game removed fighting. The one saving grace? That Trent can still make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed. It’s a moment that anyone who has ever played the NHL Hockey series of video games can relate to — I mean, who didn’t want to make Way Gretzky’s head bleed from time to time, right?
The improbable true story of the US men’s hockey team’s run to the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics is rightfully dubbed the Miracle on Ice. It’s also a miracle that the 2004 film about this very same tale is able to remain a damn fine and poignant film without falling into heavy melodrama. The defining moment, however, isn’t the US team winning gold, but instead it’s their unbelievable upset of the heavily favored Soviet team in the first round medal game. When that clocks ticks down to zero with the US team leading 4-3 and the crowd erupts into mayhem… it’s an absolute thing of beauty and a fantastic cinematic hockey moment.
Arguably the greatest hockey movie of all time, Slap Shot has so many great hockey scenes that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. The most iconic, though, might just be the enormous brawl that breaks out after the Hanson brothers attack the Peterboro Patriots during pre-game warm-ups. It’s a funny moment that pretty much sums up the entire movie: bloody, violent, unexpected, and downright hilarious. Watching the Hanson brothers sing the national anthem with blood dripping down their faces is an image that hockey (and movie) fans will likely never forget.