"Do you believe in miracles?"
February 10, 2014 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations on film and literature featuring ice hockey. Details inside.

I'm gripped with Winter Olympics fever. In particular, ice hockey has always been a casual interest of mine but with time differences (GMT v EST/PST) I have always missed out. Now that I've been watching two games a day for the past 3 days at Sochi, I'm thirsty for more. The BBC showed an amazing piece on the 1980 Miracle on Ice and that is also interesting to me.

I feel like my knowledge of the actual game is good but I want to learn more about the spirit that comes with the game. I want to see how a love of hockey affects players, teams, communities etc. I feel like looking to film and literature would help. Any recommendations of films to watch or books to read that will help me understand the ice hockey spirit would be helpful.

Just a few specifics -

1. I'm interested in ice hockey played by any/all genders.
2. I'm interested in ice hockey played in any era. Time isn't relevant.
3. I'm interested in ice hockey played anywhere in the world. Location isn't relevant.
4. As far as literature is concerned, I'm more interested in fiction than non-fiction. Both are welcome though.

Thanks in advance.
posted by sapien to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are you Canadian?

Because the gold standard has always been The Hockey Sweater.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:13 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

So you'll want to see Miracle.

Slap shot.

The Mighty Ducks.

I think I just planned my evening!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:15 AM on February 10, 2014

Well, no list would be complete with out the two crown jewels of hockey:
- Slapshot
- Youngblood

Treat them as canon.
posted by k5.user at 10:15 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

There's a cute film from 1984 called Hockey Night, about a girl who joins a boys' hockey team. I recall it being pretty good and it gets good reviews on IMDB.
posted by jayder at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2014

Mystery, Alaska. Actuallythe only hockey movie I know and I know very little about the sport but I enjoyed it.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Technically not a novel or a movie -- a graphic novel -- but Essex County is amazing.
posted by Shepherd at 10:36 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by mskyle at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Book: The Game is a classic of sports writing.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:47 AM on February 10, 2014

Do you like smart, contemporary romance novels? Rachel Gibson's Seattle Chinooks series centers on the members of a fictional NHL team, but includes a lot of real teams and even real players. TONS of action on and off the ice. See Jane Score, True Love and Other Disasters, Nothing But Trouble, Simply Irresistible, Any Man of Mine, The Trouble With Valentine's Day.

Also, if you have HBO Go access, look for the 24/7 series (not always hockey, but they've done three with the NHL). This year they did the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings as they prepared for the NHL Winter Classic; it's awesome, because they get into the locker rooms and at people's houses and in the training rooms and all that. Great documentary stuff focusing on strong rivalries as they ebb and flow throughout a season.

Actually, I don't know if you can access this, but here's a link to the Flyers/Rangers series from 2012 which I think you can watch online.

Goon is WAY better than I expected. Super cute.

The other thing about Slap Shot, which under no circumstances should you miss ("Old time hockey!"), is that it was written by a woman (!) whose brother was on these types of regional pro teams, so it's super realistic. The brother was in the movie, too.
posted by Madamina at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does it have to be fiction? If not, the CBC made a fantastic 10 part (TEN-PART!!) documentary on the history of hockey in Canada. It's available on youtube.

Hockey: A People's History
posted by elkerette at 11:58 AM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Check out The Rhino Brothers. Especially strong on the cultural significance of hockey in small town Canada.

(Friend of mine wrote it. Got to plug his stuff when I get the chance.)
posted by Naberius at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2014

Canadian movies - Breakaway and Les Boys.

Documentary - The Broad Street Bullies (youtube link).
posted by gudrun at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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