Friday, October 01, 2010

Must Watch Friday: Hockey and Hockey Movies!

Superromance author Ellen Hartman visits this Friday just in time for Exhibition Season...with a Must Watch Friday post about the greatest game on ice - that's right.  HOCKEY.

In February 1980, the week after my thirteenth birthday, I got the flu. I lay on the couch for days, unable to move, uninterested in everything, staring at the TV. I don’t know what it was like at your house in 1980, but at my house, I was literally staring at THE TV, as in the only one my family owned. It was color (finally), but only got four channels—ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. My viewing choices were limited, so when the Olympics started, I wasn’t so much glued to the set as stuck with the only option.

That winter week I fell in love with hockey. By the time the Miracle on Ice boys were skating around the Lake Placid arena waving the flag and crying, I was a fan for life.

Nowadays, I never miss the Olympics, I watch quite a bit of college hockey, and I spend every weekend from October through March watching my son play at one upstate New York rink after another. (The best thing about upstate hockey is the names of the rinks. Who wouldn’t want to play at the Onondaga War Memorial or the Utica Coliseum?) I continue to love hockey best when there’s a story being told—maybe that’s why I like watching the college teams better than the NHL.

Luckily for a hockey fan like me, there are tons of fantastic movies out there, movies with stories and skating and every wonderful thing this Miracle lover could ask for.

Recommendations? Read on.

• Mystery, Alaska is a pretty good hockey movie starring Russell Crowe. The story follows a pond-hockey team in Alaska who plays the New York Rangers in a publicity stunt game. The skating scenes are terrific and the pond hockey game is wonderful. This isn’t my favorite Russell Crowe movie or my favorite hockey movie, but it’s not bad.

• Miracle, staring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks, the Olympic team coach, is pretty darn good. It’s also one of the few hockey movies that is child-friendly so my whole family watched and enjoyed this one together.

• If you want really family friendly, you can’t go wrong with The Mighty Ducks which includes not only hockey, young Joshua Jackson in his pre-Pacey Witter days, and all the tear-jerking storylines a girl could want, but also stars Emilio Estevez, my favorite uptight Brat Packer.

• On the complete opposite end of the spectrum (as in, this film is in no way family friendly) we have Slapshot. I love this movie. My appreciation for it probably makes me disreputable and low class, but I’ll take those labels if it means I get to continue to watch Paul Newman curse, connive, and cajole his way through one last season with the hardscrabble minor league Chiefs. In my defense, Slapshot consistently appears high on lists of the best sports movies and best guy movies. It’s dirty, but fun.

• As long as we’re going with movies that mean bad things about my artistic taste, I might as well get Youngblood out of the way. Yes, it’s trite. Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, some of the scenes make me cringe. However, let me put the following counter arguments on the table. Patrick Swayze. Rob Lowe. Rob Lowe. And finally, Rob Lowe. Honestly, Youngblood is formulaic, but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s a good movie. Bonus: I just realized Keanu Reeves is also in this movie. This calls for a rewatch!

What about you? Is there a favorite hockey movie I missed? Are you more a figure skating fan? Have you seen D.B. Sweeney in The Cutting Edge which is about a hockey player who becomes a figure skater? I have!

In my fifth Superromance, Calling the Shots, ex-hockey player, Bryan James, and reluctant hockey mom, Clare Sampson, are thrown together when their kids have a fight at the hockey rink and their families enter mediation. My website ( includes an excerpt and other behind-the-scenes information.


  1. I'm going to put in votes for Mystery Alaska and Mighty Ducks. I've never heard of Youngblood but that's some hunk factor right there!


  2. Hi Bec,

    I was talking about hockey movies with my critique group this week and I was the only one who'd seen Mystery Alaska. It's definitely worth a watch if you like hockey, right? (My critique group is 3 hockey moms and 2 non-hockey moms.)

    The unfortunate thing about Youngblood is that it's a hockey movie from the 80s so the mullet plays a very big role. Still, Rob Lowe does a bunch of his own skating and once he gets sweaty the mullet loses shape and becomes adorable.

    Happy Friday!

  3. Also?

    I sent photos with this post but they didn't come through with my email to the Pink Hearts ladies. Donna very kindly dug up some nice pics and added them in.

    I'm sure Donna did not choose that photo of Crosby and Ovechkin just to bait this Pittsburgh native. She would never do something like that. Would she?

    *waving to Donna*


  4. LOL Ellen. Well I kinda did. But not so much. Crosby grew up in my neck of the woods and we visit a nearby lake where there's a certain summer home... Besides, I went crazy when he scored the Golden Goal....

  5. Golden Goal...grumble...grumble...;-)

    Thanks for having me here today and for your help with the photos. I always love having the chance to hang out with you!