Miracle

What a fantastic film! This film is so inspiring, and also again based on a true story which was one of the greatest moments in sports.I imagine that hockey will continue to define my life for a very long time.It’s hard to recreate the magic of a once-in-a-lifetime event, but Miracle comes pretty close,it  recaptures the spirit of the times, the personality of coach Herb Brooks and the tension of the game.

Miracle follows the true-life story of Coach Herb Brooks  and his team in there goal of winning the 1980 Olympic games in hockey. Standing against them is the seemingly invincible Russian squad who the team must overcome.The film follows the entire team from training, to the cut lists, and right to the Olympics.The Soviet Union had been the dominant hockey power for years winning gold medals in 64, 68, 72, and 76. The US is a team made up of young college guys molded into an effective unit by coach Herb Brooks. The US would end up playing the Soviets as a huge underdog. It is a story of the little team that could versus the superpower. David versus Goliath basically. The events taking place made this more then a hockey game. This was a competition between 2 countries with heightened tensions. Even before the puck drops you can feel the intensity in the air.There is one great scene after another, but one of my favorites is where Brooks tells them how they can defeat the Russians”You don’t defend against them you attack them.”This is the type of movie, that you would want to watch before a hockey game, because it just pumps you up. This movie really did show what hockey is about. It is not only a sport you play, but it is a sport you play with passion and hard work.

If you are still reading this it goes without saying that I think you should see this movie

Goon

This film is in the top 10 hockey films for me.Goon is a comedy about a guy who can fight well and plays hockey, but can’t actually play hockey. This is based on a true story about a guy Doug Glatt (real name Smith)who becomes a local hero just by simply going to a hockey match with his friend… well not that simple as he kind of gets into a brawl with a hockey player and eventually gets hired by a semi-pro team as a ‘Goon’ – I dont really like this phrase but ill save that for another day.Doug is a sweet even tempered guy but gratefully takes on the role of an enforcer.

One of the first great things about this film is that it has some of the bloodiest fights ever seen, and they’re all fun to watch because they come from a place of spectator sport and not filthy blood lust. What’s also interesting seems to be the character that is Doug. While obviously not human in his retention of pain and misunderstanding from everyone around him he was lovable. I will say it, I love the character of Doug Glatt, a man who sees the best in everyone and remains humble and loyal.From the romantic relationship between Doug and Eva  to his friendship with Pat , to his strange rivalry with Ross Rhea, every relationship in this film entertains.

The sports scenes actually build tension for the forthcoming final game, and some of these shots are just priceless. Especially when it comes to the fight scenes. They are unapologetically bloody, not at all over exaggerated, and feel very real and yet didn’t have the same glory attributed to them in the real world. There’s definitely a lack of glory, and clarification of what it means to be a hockey hero or someone who protects their team from hateful rivals.

It was also great to find out that Doug was a real person in the credits where they showed some of his real hockey fights. They look as gruesome as the film, which lends even further to the film’s realism.

 

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.