NET WORTH (1995)
There is one part of this film that will stick with someone. Detroit Red Wings general manager Jack Adams is discussing with Gordie Howe over the star’s one-year contract. Howe’s wife Colleen had just encouraged her husband to ask for an extra $2,000 over last season instead of his usual $1,000 raise. Howe is manipulated by Adams and doesn’t. Adams smiles and throws the signed contract in the drawer.
Based on the novel by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths, Net Worth tells about the beginnings of the formation of the NHL Players’ Association in the face of overbearing owners who exploit the players and bust their attempts to create a union.
Hockey is fun. It’s a boy’s dream. At least that’s what owners have been telling everyone.
Once you’ve watched Net Worth, you won’t forget it.
INDIAN HORSE (2017)
No list of the best hockey films can be accurate or complete to the sport’s troubled history without acknowledging its abusive or exclusionary nature. And no hockey film does this better than Indian Horse.
Taking place within Canadian residential schools that neglected and abused Indigenous children, the film based on Richard Wagamese’s book of the same name centers around a young boy Saul Indian Horse who is taken from his family but tries to pull himself out of the residential school life by schooling himself to play hockey.
Indian Horse is not a story about a resilient “other” who is successful despite the odds. Saul quits hockey despite pleas from his coach who appeals to Saul by showing him the success of Indigenous NHLer Reggie Leach.
SLAP SHOT (1977)
The throne for best hockey film has been Slap Shot’s to lose for years, and yet it’s put out again and again on best-of lists like it’s a geriatric honoree at a Montreal Canadiens pregame ceremony. Its cultural impact and iconography are irrefutable but it’s time to give the throne to more inclusive films.