If there’s one truth in this world, it’s that there aren’t enough hockey movies. Okay, maybe not everyone would agree with me on this, but it’s the truth for me, and that’s what counts. As a frustrated writer, I spend a lot of time dreaming of media that should exist while never making any moves at all to turn them into reality, so instead, I bring my ideas to you. In my professional opinion, all of these would be smash hits. And I know what I’m talking about! I took a producing class once!
So without further ado, I present to you seven movie ideas that are surefire hits.
Look at that beautiful vista. All it needs is some scruffy hooligans on it to be a movie cover.
THE POND (tentative title, because I know a documentary of that name exists): The Coming of Age Story
Like seminal classic The Sandlot only with hockey. A ragtag gang of unruly preteens plays hockey on a pond near the creepy house where some mysterious lady lives. One of the girls fires a puck through the window and there’s a lot of dramatic to-do about how they will retrieve the puck. Maybe they’re using a puck signed by a famous hockey player. Obviously it turns out the old lady won gold for Canada/the United States at some point and schools all of them at shinny. There’s a Stand By Me-esque flashforward at the end telling you what happens to all of the kids. One of them wins a gold medal.
Cast: Unknowns to make the children seem more real, plus a Canadian actress like Jennifer Tilly or Margot Kidder. I don’t know, go with it.
Theme Song: Who’s young and hip with the kids right now? Drake? Could we make a Drake song work?
HELL ON WHEELS: The Comedy
This is actually an idea I’ve mentioned before, but imagine a movie that combined the best parts of Goon, Slapshot, and Whip It. Newbie GM to some minor league team needs a way to make her/his team profitable and good because they’re dead last. They notice that the crowd loves a good hit and a good fight, and somehow this leads them to the local roller derby team (perhaps the titular Hell on Wheels) and the GM asks a couple of them to try out for the team. One of them has a roller derby name that’s like Bobbi War (cleverer than that). The team is like “roller derby girls?? as if!” and then they all become a big happy family of troublemaking hockey players. They don’t win the league but they come close. There is no romance subplot because that’s boring.
Cast: Hopefully some real roller derby players! A bright but perhaps not obviously sporty person for the GM. For some reason, Lucy Liu came to mind, but that’s probably just because I like Lucy Liu.
Theme Song: Heads Will Roll by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
UNQUALIFIED: The Inspirational Tearjerker
When I read this article on the Mexican Women’s Ice Hockey team, my first thought after “that’s so cool” was “that should be a movie.” Joaquin de la Garma’s mission to get a Mexican hockey team to qualify for the Olympics led him to the women inline skaters of Mexico city. Most of them had never been on the ice before. They lost their first exhibition game 1-0, and won their second 7-0. All of them work in addition to training, and they’re on a hard road to qualifying for the Olympics. Regardless of what happens in real life, it’s an awesome story.
Cast: Edward James Olmos as de la Garma. A well-known Spanish-speaking actress (preferably Mexican) for the part of one of the older women participating with the team (I was looking at Catalina Sandino Moreno).
Theme Song: We ask a Mexican singer to write a song for this, nothing else would be right.
PRIDE AND PREJUD-ICE: The Romcom
I have never claimed to be above appalling wordplay. Two Olympians – hockey champ Elizabeth Bennet and ice skater Will Darcy (bonus points if they are from rival countries) – meet at the Olympics and instantly hate each other. Darcy holds a particular hatred of hockey because of that No Good Scoundrel George Wickham. Elizabeth once tried figure skating and thought it didn’t have enough hitting. Regardless, somehow they overcome their differences and fall in love and maybe win a medal. There is drama with Darcy’s best friend Bingley who ice dances with his sister Caroline, and Elizabeth’s non-sporty sister Jane. The other two Bennet sisters are defensemen who full-on level their opponents. There’s at least one slow motion shot of Elizabeth taking off her helmet and shaking out her hair while Darcy stares, dumbstruck, and probably three or four of Elizabeth watching Darcy bend over in his figure skating pants. Maybe there’s a couple of emotional scenes where Darcy teaches Elizabeth to do a sit spin and Elizabeth teaches Darcy to take a hit.
Cast: What about Emily Blunt as Elizabeth? This is only 70% because I’m in love with Emily Blunt. Harry Shum, Jr. or someone similarly athletic for Darcy.
I will fight you John Krasinski, she deserves better than a Bruins fan.
Theme Song: I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. What? Did you really think you were getting out of here without a Taylor Swift song?
ICE BREAKERS: The Overly Patriotic American Movie
The story of the first ever women’s ice hockey tournament at the Olympics, where the American team beat their rivals, those dirty Canadians, to take home the first ever women’s hockey gold medal in addition to going undefeated. Rivalries! Historic events! Big rivalries! The really tragic “where are they now” section at the end where it says “The U.S. has not won gold since” just to rub it into all our faces! You could put it on the shelf alongside your copy of Miracle.
Cast: Do the same thing as Miracle. Have a couple of well-known actors for the coaches and then get a bunch of college students to play the girls. At least one cameo from a current player and/or a real life member of the team.
THE MIGHTY DUCKS 4: LIVE FREE OR DUCK HARD: The Totally Necessary Sequel
This is all Hannah’s fault, because she is the biggest fan of the Mighty Ducks to ever exist. Mighty Ducks 4: All Grown Up. We revisit the gang in their thirties. Charlie Conway is in his last season as an NHL player. Adam Banks is his coach. Connie has won a ton of Olympic Medals and is about to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Charlie has had a few concussions that are affecting his play. Gordon Bombay comes to them with a cause that needs money, and they get the gang back together to play an exhibition charity game against…Team Iceland! Obviously! Things are fraught and tense because they’re all older and Charlie is kind of crotchety and ready to retire, and Adam has been a coach so he keeps trying to coach them. In the end, they triumph and raise a ton of money, and there’s a big celebratory party and/or parade in their honor. The movie closes on a Queen song.
Cast: Are you really asking this question?
Theme Song: Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
How much did Hannah cry at this picture? a) a lot, b) quite a bit, c) ALL THE TEARS IN THE WORLD
SUMMER OF DARKNESS: The Documentary
If there was a way to get an honest documentary film out of the North Korean hockey team, I’d say do it. Instead, what might be an important poignant documentary to make would be a documentary covering the tragic events of the summer of 2011, which saw the deaths of Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard, and Wade Belak. The struggles of those three men apply not only to sports and the world of post-concussion syndrome, but also to depression and mental health, something that is still not understood or treated as well as it needs to be. It’s a topic that needs to be discussed and brought out into the light.
Cast: Liev Schreiber to narrate.
Theme Song: The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
THE BLUE LINE (or something else with similar double entendre qualities): The Hard-Hitting Drama/Oscar Bait
WWII had a huge impact on the NHL and its players at the time. Though only two NHL players died in combat, a number of NHL players served in either the Canadian or American militaries. Some went on to be Hall of Famers and award-winners despite the interruption of their careers. It’s a fascinating period of history for the NHL and for the players involved. A movie focusing on a small handful or players might be interesting, or just one, as they go from carefree athletes to veterans of the war that arguably changed the world as we know it, coming back to a career and a life that seemed small in comparison. I heard a story once, perhaps apocryphal, and almost certainly from Jeff Marek, about how when an NHL player played his last game before going to join the war, the others on the ice carried him off on their shoulders. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s certainly a striking image — and you can imagine that as the Oscar ad. For Your Consideration indeed.
Cast: A young, attractive rising star for the lead. Maybe Miles Teller, aka That Kid From Whiplash. If it’s Oscar bait, he needs to have a pretty pregnant wife, so let’s say Emily VanCamp.
Theme Song: Something deep and soulful from either Sam Smith or Adele so they can croon it like it’s 1945.
Other Stories Worth Telling:
The Stastny brothers, who were Czech hockey legends before the younger two made a break for America without telling their older brother, who had a wife and family. After a year Marian joined them in America to play for the Nordiques. “I heard from hockey people that there was a mother in Czechoslovakia who gave birth to three hockey stars. One played left, one played center, one played right. I said, “Impossible.”“ – Marcel Abut of the Quebec Nordiques
Abby Hoffman who disguised herself as a boy named Ab Hoffman in order to play hockey. When she was discovered and told she wasn’t allowed to play, her parents argued her case all the way to the Ontario Supreme Court.
The uplifting and heartwrenching story of a junior hockey team, a la Friday Night Lights.
Inspired by the story of Chantal Desmarais, Sister Act 3 in which a young women’s ice hockey player has to go into hiding after she sees her corrupt team owner doing something illegal, and ends up teaching a bunch of nuns to play hockey. They wipe the floor with a rec league at the end and it’s glorious.