The Cinema of Hockey

Four Decades of the Game on Screen


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About the Book

Ice hockey has featured in North American films since the early days. Hockey’s sizable cinematic repertoire explores different views of the sport, including the role of aggression, the business of sports, race and gender, and the role of women in the game. This critical study focuses on hockey themes in more than 50 films and television movies from the U.S. and Canada spanning several decades. Depictions of historical games are discussed, including the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” and the 1972 Summit Series. National myths that inform ideas of the hockey player are examined. Production techniques that enhance hockey as on-screen spectacle are covered.

About the Author(s)

Iri Cermak is a media studies researcher. Her prior work has included hockey in United States and Canadian Olympic television broadcasts and documentary film. She lives in Panama.

Bibliographic Details

Iri Cermak
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 344
Bibliographic Info: 49 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6625-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2696-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Why Study Hockey as a Repertoire?  5
Hockey, Masculinity Archetypes and North American Scripts of Nationhood  10
Cultural Archetypes and the Quandaries of Depicting Hockey in Film  16
Approaching the Hockey Lineup in This Book  21
1. Critiques of Hockey as Aggressive Muscularity 25
Bully Hockey in Canadian Film: Paperback Hero, The Last Season and Gross Misconduct  27
Bully Hockey in Hollywood Film: Ice Castles, Love Story, The Deadliest Season and Youngblood  39
2. Spoofs of Aggressive Muscularity: The Pleasures of Sporting Excess 48
The ­Bully-Clown in Hollywood Film: Slap Shot, Happy Gilmore, Tooth Fairy and Just Friends  49
The ­Bully-Clown in Canadian Film: Score: A Hockey Musical, Goon,
Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story and Wrath of Grapes:
The Don Cherry Story II  62
3. Critiques of the Business of Hockey 77
The System Against the Athlete: Face Off (Winter Comes Early)  77
Hockey in Crisis: Net Worth and Sudden Death  81
The Hockey Protagonist on the Frontier: Mystery, Alaska  90
The Disillusioned Protagonist: No Sleep ’til Madison and Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice  97
4. Hockey and Family Entertainment 104
Disney’s Vision of Hockey: The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, D3:
The Mighty Ducks, ­H-E-Double Hockey Sticks and Den Brother  106
Hockey in Canadian Family Fare: Ronnie and Julie, MVP: Most Valuable Primate, Slap Shot 3: The Junior League and Sticks and Stones  116
5. Hockey, Masculinity and Nationhood in Quebec Cinema 130
Quebec and the Montreal Canadians: The Mystery of the Million Dollar Hockey Puck and The Sweater  132
Les Boys I, II, III, IV: Hockey, Identity and Commercial Success  138
Il était une fois les Boys: Les Boys and the Family Genre  148
Quebec’s Hockey Icon and the Nation: Maurice Richard/The Rocket  153
Mending Canada’s Cultural Divide: Bon Cop, Bad Cop  159
6. Hockey Biopics and the Nation 167
The Memory Work of Allegiance: ABC’s Miracle on Ice and Disney’s Miracle  168
Negotiating the Nation: Canada Russia ’72  177
Coaching and Honing Character: The Hounds of Notre Dame,
Keep Your Head Up, Kid/Wrath of Grapes and Waking Up Wally:
The Walter Gretzky Story  185
7. Hockey, Race and Sexuality 199
Ethnicity and the Hockey Protagonist: The Love Guru and Breakaway/
The Speedy Singhs  199
Sexuality and the Hockey Protagonist: Perfectly Normal, Breakfast with Scot, Grown Up Movie Star and The Sheldon Kennedy Story  207
8. The Women’s Game 220
Forging a Path for Women in the Game? Hockey Night, Ice Angel, Go Figure, Chicks with Sticks, National Lampoon’s Pucked and Les Pee Wee 3D:
L’hiver qui a changé ma vie  221
9. The Hockey Spectacle in Film 239
The Grammar of Hockey in Film  239
Goal-Orientation  241
Toughness  246
The (Lesser) Role of Goaltending  248
The Dream and the Work Ethic  250
The Use of Archival Footage  251
Overview  254
Conclusion 258
Filmography 265
Chapter Notes 268
Bibliography 305
Index 323

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Employing a close textual analysis of hockey film scripts and a wide range of scholarly sources that include media, film, and literature studies, The Cinema of Hockey offers itself as the first cultural analysis and history of hockey on film….[It presents] a well-structured analysis with new research on hockey cinema and the many interpretive themes these films present to viewers.”—Sport in American History
  • “The first comprehensive study”—Nordic Sport Science Forum
  • “Cermak has outdone herself in curating quite a collection of films and telefilms depicting all representations of hockey…Cermak’s efforts in examining hockey through film as a vehicle for symbolic representations showcase the book’s strength”—Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas
  • “Well written, heavily researched…recommended…Cermark displays a knowledge of the scholarship on a variety of film genres from family films to road movies, in addition to a remarkable awareness of the literature on Canadian media”—The Journal of American Culture
  • “[A] major contribution.”—Brian Kennedy, Pasadena City College, author of Facing Wayne Gretzky