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5 Great Films About Ice Hockey

Stills from Goon, Black Ice, and Miracle, three films about ice hockey

When one thinks of sports movies, some of the titles that usually come to mind have to do with the most popular sports. If we were to ask you for some titles, you’d probably think of boxing dramas like Raging Bull (1980) or Rocky (1976), basketball films like Hoop Dreams (1994), baseball crowd-pleasers like Field of Dreams (1989) and Moneyball (2011), or soccer hits like Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and countless more releases. This past year alone, we got a lot of sports films – from boxing gems The Iron Claw and Creed III to Ben Affleck’s Air and Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins – but most seemed to focus on the same sport. But what about ice hockey?

Though ice hockey is not hugely depicted in movies – and when thinking of ice skating, Hollywood usually prefers to focus on figure skating flicks, like 2017’s I, Tonya – it’s still a very popular sport with many fans: suffice it to think of how many people are looking up Stanley Cup odds. And there are a lot of films that you can check out, whether you’d like to learn more about the sport or simply be entertained with a good story. Here’s a list of 5 great films about ice hockey, in alphabetical order!

1. Black Ice (2023)

Hubert Davis

A man plays hockey alone at night in the film Black Ice, a great film about ice hockey
5 Great Films About Ice Hockey – Black Ice (Roadside Attractions)

Let’s start with a recent release! This award-winning documentary should be on your list if you’re interested in finding out more about what goes on behind the scenes in professional hockey. Black Ice gives viewers an insightful look at institutional racism throughout the years, and is mainly told through tales of the Black ice hockey players interviewed by director Hubert Davis (of The National Parks Project). Documenting the history of the sport from the late 1800s and early 1900s to our day and age, the film “deals with racism from a distinct Canadian perspective,” as our writer Wesley Hunt points out in our review of Black Ice. It’s one of the best documentaries about ice hockey out there and one that’s bound to be a memorable, haunting watch.

2. The Cutting Edge (1992)

Paul Michael Glaser

A woman plays ice hockey in the film The Cutting Edge
5 Great Films About Ice Hockey – The Cutting Edge (MGM)

If you’re looking for a more light-hearted watch, we have the right pick for you! The Cutting Edge is extremely light on plot, but it’s also an entertaining one, and it’s a 1990s movie in the best sense of the word. The premise is simple: an arrogant figure skating champion named Kate (Moira Kelly) makes a mistake at the Olympics that loses her the gold medal and puts her in a terrible mood. Soon, she starts rejecting every potential partner that her patient coach Anton (Roy Dotrice) sends her way, and it seems like her competition days are over.

But just when Anton has no more players left to try to team her up with, a former Olympic hockey player enters the picture. His name is Doug (D.B. Sweeney), and he is just as entitled and arrogant as Kate is, which makes them perfect for one another. Naturally, this partnership isn’t off to a great start, due to their many, many clashes of opinion, but this makes the film such an entertaining watch.

As their relationship evolves and they realize that they can play off of each other’s strengths – Kate with her knowledge of figure skating and Doug with the unpredictability and skill he brings as a former ice hockey player – and things start to get serious. The Cutting Edge is mostly a silly watch, but you won’t be able to stop smiling as you watch these two hit it off, and if you find yourself needing more when the titles roll, great news: there are four sequels out there! They are definitely not as good as the original, but we’d recommend The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006) for the “so bad it’s good” factor!

3. Goon (2012)

Michael Dowse

5 Great Films About Ice Hockey – Goon: Trailer (Magnolia Pictures)

Seann William Scott (of American Pie fame) is the protagonist of Michael Dowse’s Goon, where he plays a misfit bouncer whose life hasn’t exactly turned out the way he wanted it to. Doug (Scott) is considered an outcast by everyone around him, his family included, and seems to be stuck in a sort of limbo. That is, until he gets the chance to join a minor-league Canadian hockey team, and his life is changed for good.

Goon doesn’t do much to revolutionize the sports drama formula, but it excels at delivering exactly the kind of inspirational storytelling that fans of Cinderella Man, Creed, Happy Gilmore and countless inspiring sports dramas will enjoy. On top of this, Goon has an incredibly likeable protagonist who manages to be both brutallt violent and surprisingly sweet, and will also deliver plenty of laughs. Sean William Scott excels as Doug and is joined by Blackberry’s Jay Baruchel, Snowpiercer’s Alison Pill, Spotlight’s Liev Schreiber, and more faces you’ll recognize.

4. Miracle (2004)

Gavin O’Connor

A coach cheers during a ice hockey match in the film Miracle
5 Great Films About Ice Hockey – Miracle (Walt Disney Pictures)

Kurt Russell (of Escape from New York and Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood) plays a college coach in this 2004 gem from the director of Tumbleweeds, based on a true story. His character, Herb Brooks is hired to coach the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team in the U.S., and we watch him as he puts together a team of talented young men and uses his unconventional methods to get them closer to the goal. The team they need to defeat is the Soviet team, which is very strong, but Brooks’ players can’t be underestimated under his guidance. If you’re a fan of Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting and are looking for something similar but ice hockey-related, look no further than Miracle!

5. Mystery, Alaska (1999)

Jay Roach

Russell Crowe wears a white sweater and plays ice hockey on a frozen pond in the middle of the mountains, with some people watching behind him, in the movie Mystery, Alaska
5 Great Films About Ice Hockey – Mystery, Alaska (Hollywood Pictures)

There is no mystery to solve in Alaska, if that’s what you’re wondering, but this 1999 gem from the director of Bombshell and Trumbo is absolutely worth the watch! Mystery, Alaska is about – you guessed it – an ice hockey team. This time, we’re in the fictional town of Mystery, where the local team loves the sport but has to play on a pond, due to their lack of resources. One day, the team is picked to be part of a televised game against an actual professional team, the NHL’s New York Rangers. As our favorite underdogs get their chance of a lifetime, we immerse ourselves in their training and preparations and get incredibly attached to these fictional players.

Mystery, Alaska has a lot of heart, and it also has a great cast! Russell Crowe plays the coach and is joined by Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights), Colm Meaney (Marlowe), Hank Azaria (The Birdcage), and an all-star cast.

Though there aren’t as many movies about ice hockey as there are about other sports, the 5 films listed above are all great watches, from informative documentaries to gripping and inspirational dramas and movies that are simply fun. Whether you’re a fan of ice hockey classics like The Mighty Ducks or you simply want to find out more about the game, these 5 great movies will do the trick. Happy watching!

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