THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1992)
Despite The Mighty Ducks being the usual Disney fare, it was the hockey film for a generation of young hockey fans who’d never watched The Bad News Bears. A championship game that didn’t conclude with a fight but instead a skilled play. A coach who tells his player, “I believe in you, Charlie. Win or Lose.”
The Mighty Ducks rebukes the win-at-all-costs notion of many hockey films while a team of lower-middle-class kids beats the rich kids. It’s one of the few to have non-male and non-white players on the featured team, and gives on- and off-ice screen time to each character.
Another film taking aim at Canada’s national politics combined with hockey, The Rocket rises above the average hockey biopic by portraying Canadiens legend Maurice Richard as the top of the Quebecois cultural spear during a time of separation between English Canada and French.
The Rocket’s sensitive approach to the story is viewed too in the filming of the hockey scenes. The low-lighting of 50s hockey arenas, the helmet-less players, and the cool color hues give us a notion that Richard is by himself in the cold of the rink.
THE GAME OF HER LIFE (1998)
Documenting the lead-up to the first women’s Olympic ice hockey tournament in ‘98, The Game of Her Life offers a unique and rare look at one of the most important chapters in women’s hockey history from a Canadian perspective.
Made by the National Film Board and directed by Lyn Wright, the film tells of Team Canada’s ascent to its first Olympic Games and its heartbreaking loss to Team USA. These were the first Olympic matches between two of hockey’s greatest rivals, and the very true tension between the teams is set up and explored excellently in the film.