Puck Drops and Popcorn: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Hockey Movies Every Fan Should Watch

Richard M. Coleman
4 min readFeb 28, 2024

Ice hockey, with its lightning-fast pace and bone-crushing hits, has long inspired filmmakers to capture the essence of competition, camaraderie, and triumph on the silver screen. From heartwarming underdog stories to gritty tales of sacrifice and redemption, hockey movies offer something for every fan. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the best hockey movies that have left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide, inviting you to relive the thrill of the game from the comfort of your living room.

Miracle (2004):

Directed by Gavin O’Connor, “Miracle” is a testament to the power of teamwork and perseverance. The film recounts the historic victory of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, led by coach Herb Brooks, as they defy the odds to defeat the dominant Soviet Union squad. With its stirring performances and authentic portrayal of the sport, “Miracle” remains a must-watch for hockey fans and cinephiles.

The Mighty Ducks Trilogy (1992–1996):

“The Mighty Ducks” franchise follows the transformation of a ragtag youth hockey team into champions under the guidance of coach Gordon Bombay, portrayed by Emilio Estevez. From the initial installment’s blend of comedy and heartfelt storytelling to the subsequent sequels’ exploration of friendship and sportsmanship, this trilogy has left an enduring legacy, inspiring generations of young athletes to pursue their dreams on the ice.

Slap Shot (1977):

Directed by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman, “Slap Shot” remains a cult classic beloved by hockey fans. Set in the world of minor-league hockey, the film follows the raucous exploits of the Charlestown Chiefs as they resort to unconventional tactics to boost attendance and secure victory on the ice. With its irreverent humor and unapologetic portrayal of the sport’s rough-and-tumble nature, “Slap Shot” continues entertaining audiences decades after its release.

Goon (2011):

Directed by Michael Dowse and written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, “Goon” offers a fresh take on the role of enforcers in professional hockey. Starring Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt, a bouncer-turned-hockey enforcer with a heart of gold, the film explores themes of identity, loyalty, and self-discovery amidst the sport’s brutality. With its blend of humor, heart, and hard-hitting action, “Goon” has earned a devoted following among fans of both hockey and cinema.

Mystery, Alaska (1999):

Directed by Jay Roach, “Mystery, Alaska” transports viewers to the eponymous small town, where hockey serves as a unifying force for its quirky inhabitants. Tensions run high when the local amateur team challenges the New York Rangers to a game as the townsfolk rally behind their underdog heroes. With its picturesque setting, memorable characters, and exhilarating hockey sequences, “Mystery, Alaska” captures the magic of the sport and the bonds it fosters within communities.

The Rocket (2005):

Directed by Charles Binamé, “The Rocket” pays tribute to hockey legend Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, charting his rise from humble beginnings to one of the most iconic players in NHL history. With its stellar performances and meticulous attention to detail, the film offers a compelling portrait of Richard’s enduring impact on the sport and the culture of Quebec. From his on-ice heroics to his off-ice struggles, “The Rocket” offers a nuanced exploration of an actual hockey icon.

Youngblood (1986):

Directed by Peter Markle, “Youngblood” follows the journey of Dean Youngblood, a talented young hockey player striving to make a name for himself in the competitive world of junior hockey. With his teammates’ support and his coach’s guidance, Dean learns valuable lessons about perseverance, friendship, and the true meaning of success. Featuring exhilarating hockey sequences and heartfelt performances, “Youngblood” remains a beloved coming-of-age tale for hockey fans of all ages.

The Cutting Edge (1992):

While not strictly a hockey movie, “The Cutting Edge” offers a unique twist on the sports genre by combining figure skating with a hockey-themed romance. Starring D.B. Sweeney as a former hockey player and Moira Kelly as a prima donna figure skater, the film follows their unlikely partnership as they strive for Olympic glory. With its winning combination of humor, romance, and exhilarating ice skating sequences, “The Cutting Edge” has carved out a special place in the hearts of sports movie enthusiasts.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017):

Directed by Jay Baruchel, “Goon: Last of the Enforcers” picks up where the original film left off, following Doug Glatt as he navigates the challenges of professional hockey while confronting his limitations on and off the ice. With its blend of slapstick comedy and heartfelt drama, the sequel offers a satisfying continuation of Doug’s journey. Further, it explores the complexities of the enforcer’s role in the modern game.

Red Army (2014):

Directed by Gabe Polsky, “Red Army” offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Soviet hockey during the Cold War era. Through interviews with former players and archival footage, the documentary explores the unique training methods, political pressures, and cultural significance of the Soviet national team. With its insightful commentary and compelling storytelling, “Red Army” sheds light on a pivotal chapter in hockey history and the enduring legacy of the Red Army team.

From inspirational true stories to laugh-out-loud comedies, the best hockey movies transcend the confines of the rink to explore themes of perseverance, friendship, and the unbreakable bond between players and fans. Whether you’re a die-hard hockey enthusiast or simply searching for riveting cinema, these films offer a thrilling glimpse into the exhilarating world of hockey and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to chase their dreams on the ice. So grab your jersey and some popcorn, and get ready to experience the magic of hockey on the big screen.

--

--

Richard M. Coleman

Richard Coleman worked at the Medical School of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, he worked at the Stanford University Medical School.