Ice Guardians

So the lovely Liam and I have been waiting for nearly 6 months for this to come out! Anyway Liam bought us the tickets as soon as he saw it was coming to Sheffield. This is a definite must watch for any person. For the guys who don’t know what this is this is a documentary based on the role of in-game fighting in ice hockey and the use of specific players recruited to be team enforcers. It is stated early on in this documentary that the very first professional ice hockey game ended in a brawl whether this was true or not we dont know but what we do know is the incorporation of fighting in hockey has been part of the hockey experience since it all began. Penalty rules were set for fighting  as far back as 1922 less than five years after the leagues inception. Some people do consider this as a big part of the game and a big reason why they watch/attend games others think this has no place in sport, and if your a hockey fan yourself you will be aware of the big debate that’s happening right now in regards to fighting and this sport. Anyhow no matter your opinion or even if you have little interest in this sport this documentary strips away the myths and conclusions people make and gives a real insight to the men hired to protect the ones scoring goals.

So if your a newby to ice hockey the term goon is almost synonymous with hockey this is basically a term for a player who is known purely for initiating or engaging a fight. In technical or professional terms they are knows as enforcers and have become an essential part of the game and the strategy for how the game is played something which is unknown in your sort of every day sports such as football. Attempting to understand why these guys are employed is divided by which side of the fence you sit  with these guys, but there is no denying that the power of violence can be embedded deep in these players and shows where athletes replace our ancient warriors.

In the news its always naturally the ones that scored the most goals, earn the team the highest points make the headlines however there is no stretch as to why they achieved this which is what ice guardians looks into. If you are an avid fan of hockey you will be no stranger to Mr Wayne Gretzky  – credit given where credit is due this guy is one of the greatest players in history however this guy had an enforcer watching his back and wouldn’t allow his trade in the NHL to be complete without his enforcer. Further into this documentary when the players are speaking and you realize that these guys sacrifice themselves and there health (mental and physical) for their team. You may be thinking this is reality however with this there is many disbelief’s and misconceptions which have led to debates for the role of the enforcers.

Ice guardians gives you that insight to history and the purpose of this role  down to the etiquette and of course the consequences… some of these are hard to watch no matter how much of a hockey fan you are these will open your eyes! Its the story of men who are far more deeper set than what people can imagine but in their benefit this fearful anonymity has helped build their aggressive mystique in their career (well for the crowds watching)  What this documentary does is looking further into the rules  there is a complex set of unwritten rules and respect between two enforcers  and many of the enforcers are highly educated and are friends in some sort of way who fully embrace and understand their role in the system which is basically to defend their position or risk being sent back to a lower league and fight for their way back up again.

This documentary provides a fair look into the controversy of the enforcer role though is biased in presenting a case for these enforcers (the title implies this the most in my opinion) allowing the men who made a name for themselves on the rink in the NHL  as ‘bare knuckle brawlers’  to tell their stories on screen reliving these experiences with them and also the battles they have overcome with this and the reasons why. These men gave a personal and emotional account of their lives on the ice mixed with footage from the past experiences and their exploits. This will open your eyes even wider than you can imagine as two avid hockey fans we came out of this very emotional and left thinking deeply about these guys who have risked their health for the sake of others

Jay Baruchel what a guy…this is the guy who wrote Goon – we will do a review on Goon and for the guys who dont really know Goon is one of the top 10 hockey films in time, Jay himself is a life-long fan and advocate for the enforcer he is a small voice in this production but i thought he defo needed a mention.

The saying goes we dont know anything until we walk a mile in another mans shoes in this case its skates, this film is an eye opening experience that doesn’t require you to know the ins and outs of hockey  but will leave you thinking more about how this game is played. In my opinion this is one of the best sports documentaries in recent years and is a respectful look at a dying breed and the warriors who love the game that they play.