Posted on: May 18, 2009 10:06 am
Edited on: May 19, 2009 1:13 pm

Movie Madness: Top Ten hockey Movies of all time.

In honor of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mr. Madness has decided to take a break from reviewing a sports movie this week. Instead, I've chosen to review 10 - the 10 greatest hockey movies of all time. (In the opinion of this writer, of course.) After having spent countless hours over the weekend waiting on hockey to resume, Madness had too much time on his hands, and watched these ten films...

OK, I watched 14, but four will be left on the cutting room floor.

I am sure the choices will spark countless debates and it should be noted that this is the place for those debates. Feel free to disagree and state your case. Just remember that Madness is a trained professional and some of these stunts should not be tried at home. (Again, just something I always wanted to say.) So enjoy the list, and go out and rent or buy the movies. 

Let's drop the puck and start the hockey movie playoff!

10)  Youngblood Stars Robe Lowe, Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. The story centers around Dean Youngblood. Dean is a hockey player who is trying to make it to the NHL. Dean, however, is a problem. He and his coaches are never on the same page, and he's always being accused of lacking the toughness to make it to the pro's. The story unravels and Dean falls for the Coach's daughter along the way, played by Cynthia Gibb. The training is unique and has a Rocky feel to it. Over all, not a bad movie, but it should have had more hockey and less relationship.

Movie Madness gives it a grade of Pro .



09) The Love Guru is a Mike Myers film that centers around a hockey player in the NHL. With an all-star cast that includes Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Ben Kingsley and Mariska Hargitay (some of the funniest lines in the movie), this film chronicles the life of pro hockey player Darren Roanoke and his struggles to play as the super star he is. Roanoke loses his wife to rival player and foe, Jacques Grande (this you have to see). At this point, the Love Guru is called in to help him find his karmic center, and what follows are a lot of laughs and some hockey.

Movie Madness gives this film a Pro rating (Mariska Hargitay gets a SuperStar though).



08) Sudden Death stars Jean Claude Van Damme, and has appearances by NHL stars Mike Lange, Luc Robitaille, Markus Naslund and Bernie Nicholls. The story is about a hockey game. Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, to be specific. But it's not all hockey. A group of terrorists are going to blow up the arena! It has great hockey footage and, of course, some action scenes that are mostly believable. Over all, it plays well.

Madness gives this film a grade of Pro. 



07) The Sweater is a story of a boy and a gift. The boy is a fan of the Montreal Canadiens and the "Rocket". All he wants is a sweater to show his loyalty to his team and favorite player. What he gets is a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater. This movie is an animated short film, but it's one that shows not just the passion we have for our beloved teams, but he social climates that surround them.

Madness rates this an All Star.



06) The Rocket is the story of all time hockey great Maurice Richard - known as the "Rocket". It documents the struggles of his life and the natural talent he used to over come them. It takes place in Montreal in the 1930's, and has some of the most gritty film scenes of all the hockey movies I have seen. This film covers all the issues of the time as well. Language, management and social hierarchy. A well made film that few have seen.

Madness gives it a grade of All Star.



05) Hockey Mom (Aka Chicks with sticks). From the title, you would think this is a powder puff film. Well, don't let the title fool you. This is the story of women against man on the ice. It covers all the normal scenarios of the eternal battle of the sexes. It' a hockey mom that was so close to the Olympics and now wants to see a women's pro league. It's a one-on-one battle between Paula Taymore (Played by Jessalyn Gilsig) must show that women can play as well as the men. What you get is some great hockey and a truly great story.

Madness rates this film an All Star.



04) The Mighty Ducks not only inspired kids to play hockey, it started a whole NHL franchise. Great skating, great cast and a great story involving a former star player (played by Emelio Estevez). This character tries to get himself out of trouble in his law firm by coaching a group of misfits. It's the first in the series of films, and one of the most beloved Disney sports movies of all time.

Madness rates this film a SuperStar.



03) Mystery, Alaska is one of the best hockey stories ever told. David versus goliath... but on the frozen pond (literally). It has an all-star cast with the likes of Russel Crowe, Mary McCormack, Burt Reynolds, lovely Lolita Davidovich and even Hank Azaria of Simpsons fame. You'll also see some New York Rangers stars. Here is a partial list for your viewing pleasure: Phil Esposito, Jim Fox, Tia Domi, Barry Melrose and Steve Levy.

It is the story of an Alaskan team from a small town that gets the chance to prove their worth against the mighty New York Rangers. The story is complete, from the practice, to the tryouts to the team captain realizing he has gotten to old, and needs to let the young star shine. It has the comeback and the drama. If you have not seen this, it is a must.

Madness grades this film a SuperStar.



02) Slapshot is one of the most popular hockey films of all time. It centers around the Hanson brothers, a trio of hockey brothers that are trying to save their team from relocation to the retirement centers of Florida, or so they believe. What follow is hilarious, and although it lacks the fundamentals of real hockey, it has some of the best fight scenes you will ever see, period. Paul Newman leads a cast that will have you laughing from the drop of the first puck. Had it been about real hockey, it would easily have been number one.

Madness grades this film a SuperStar.



01) Miracle is the true story of the 1980 Olympic hockey team and has been reviewed by Madness. It is the greatest hockey movie of all time in the Madness archives and will remain there until, well, forever. To read the full review follow the link or just take my word for it.

Madness grades this film a SuperStar.

So that wraps up the Top 10 hockey movies of all time. I am sure opinions will vary and I welcome any and all of them. Now, on to the Stanley Cup!

Click here to read the full review for Miracle .

Posted on: May 14, 2009 12:37 am
Edited on: May 15, 2009 8:51 am

Sports Movie Madness : Miracle

The date was February 22, 1980 and all I have to ask is... Do you BELIEVE?

The US team had already won when they were not supposed to. They had made it to the medal round, and had gone farther than anyone thought or expected. Now, on this date, they would be playing against the Russians - the team that some people said was the most powerful team ever to skate on the ice. In net, they face one of the greatest goalies ever to don a mask. They would never overcome these odds. It simply wasn’t possible.

Miracle chronicles the story of this team, all the way from picking the coach to the last second of the 1980 Olympics games. The weight of a nation on their backs. An all-star cast that is headlined by Kurt Russell as Coach Herb Brooks, and helped mightily by some of the up and coming actors of today. Notably, Eddie Cahill of CSI NY fame plays goaltender Jim Craig.

Not only is this an historic event protracted perfectly on film, but is the greatest assembly of hockey talent you can ever find in a movie. The actors where evaluated first based on their skating ability, and second on their acting ability. Miracle is a must-see for all hockey fans, and should be a must-see for all Americans.

Where this movie hits home...

As a young kid growing up in New York, hockey is as much a part of us in the winter as pizza and bagels. Sports in the Big Apple seem to take on a life of their own. It is never just one sport, and you seldom get to pick the team you root for, either. This is a generational act. If your dad is a fan of a team, you are a fan of the same team. I mean lets face it, if your dad drove Fords, you did. If you dad drank Coke, you didn’t touch a Pepsi. If in your house, the New York Rangers were the hockey team, you better not come home with an Islanders cap. If grandpa donned the Pin Stripes, you better like the Yankees.
And it was no different when it came to politics.

If you are old enough to remember the Cold War, this philosophy took on a similar meaning in our every day lives. In politics you were what your parents were, if they voted Democrat, you would as well. Well, in the late 70's the U.S.S.R was the sworn enemy of the United States, and it had been the case for almost 30 years. Communism was our arch rival.

This was not just something that took place on the battle field. It enveloped every day lives as well. The bomb shelter business was booming in the 60's due to the Bay of Pigs. The fear of the Soviet Union was everywhere, even his transitioning into the world of sports.

In the Olympics, the Soviets were larger than life. They were stronger, faster and seemingly won a gold medal in every event... sometimes just by their fear factor alone. The Soviet Hockey team was no different. They were not just winners, they were almost super human, and had won every international tournament from 1956 to the winter of 1980 except one. They were, in fact, on the verge of an unbelievable 20-year win streak. That was in YEARS, in case you didn’t catch that.

Now, unlike most countries that fielded teams for the Olympics, the Russian team was not truly amateurs. Most countries had teams that practiced together for six to eight weeks before an event. The Russians played together year round. Although they were considered amateurs because their "real" jobs were as members of the Red Army.

The United States teams, meanwhile, would be put together before the qualifying tournaments and then practice before the Olympics. Needless to say the US team was not going to beat a team like the Russians. America knew they were going to lose, it became acceptable.

It was acceptable, that is, until a man named Herb Brooks came onto the scene. Herb Brooks new of this rivalry. He knew of the humiliation. He had even tasted the defeat dished out by the Russian monsters on ice.

He had played on two US Olympic teams, 1964 and 1968, some even said he was inspired by the Red Team. Some said pure hatred drove him. So when the chance came for him to coach the 1980 team, he dove in. He put the team through the most rigorous training anyone had ever seen. Even some of the players he chose for the team were a surprise. He chose players from the college he had spent so many years coaching, the college he had taken to three national titles. He ate, slept and breathed not just hockey, but US victory. This was truly David versus Goliath.

On February 9th of 1980, he brought the team to Madison Square Garden to face off against the Russians in an exhibition game. The Garden was packed with fans of the Red, White and Blue, but they all left disappointed as the Russians beat the US handily, at 10-3. The hopes of the Olympic dream were gone, the hopes of democracy were gone.

The USA was going to succumb to the Russians. The mood of Americans everywhere was one of doom.

So I ask you this one question... DO YOU BELIEVE in Miracles?
Movie Madness score is:  SuperStar

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com