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Best Hockey Films of All Time: The Final

NHL: All Star Game
It’s only a matter of time
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

[Insert dramatic music] Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the ultimate cinematic showdown for the singular honor of “Greatest Hockey Film of All Time”... at least until that John Scott film gets made. I may be the one writing these articles, but I’ll also be the first admit that this distinction is pretty meaningless and that film tastes vary person to person. Nevertheless, here we are at the final. A showdown between our last two films. For the last time, here’s a reminder of the criteria we’re using to make our call.

  1. Poll of our Hockey Wilderness readers
  2. Entertainment value of the film
  3. How well the film captures one or more aspects of the game
  4. An x-factor that will be described in each round’s breakdown

Results of the Semi-Finals:

  • Miracle vs. Goon

Winner: Miracle

We’re back to decisive poll results with this match up. While a good number of people preferred the oddly heartwarming story of Doug Glatt, a strong majority indicated they favor the tale of the 1980s Olympics Team USA defeating the Soviet juggernauts. Miracle advances to the final and Goon strives for a bronze medal.

  • The Mighty Ducks vs. Slap Shot

Winner: Slap Shot

Apparently the Hockey Wilderness prefers the grown up ragtag hockey team and the original Bash Brothers™ over the youth version. Slap Shot outperfromed The Mighty Ducks by a significant margin, but there are clearly some diehard fans of the boys and girls of District Five.


Finals, Championship Match: Miracle vs. Slap Shot

Each film skated past the first round on a bye. Each film blew through the second round on poll results in the 90+ percentile. The semi-finals left little doubt that these two films deserved their respecitve first and second overall seed. Now they stand opposite each other in the metaphorical faceoff dot.

Miracle: The cinematic story of the 1980 Winter Olympics Team USA’s unbelievable victory over the powerhouse Soviet squad. Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) faces challenges from nearly all sides, including the heated rivalries among his own players, as he selects his roster and tries to make them into a team. Waiting for them at the Olympics are some of the best players in the world, including the juggernaut Soviets. Clashing personalities and a lack of focus might cost Team USA what little time they have to prepare. It all comes down to a climactic showdown in the semi-finals.

X-factor: Herb Brooks was a master motivator, oft imitated but never replicated. Vote for Miracle or consider yourself a candy*ss.

Slap Shot: Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) is the over-the-hill player coach of the Charlestown Chiefs. The team is a perrenial basement dweller in the Federal League which has forced the team’s manager to resort to a variety of ridiculous promotions and cost saving measures. Reggie, fearing his team will fold financially, reshapes the team into a bunch of goons as the big hits and fighting excites the crowd and improves attendance numbers. Despite his best efforts, including planting a rumor of an interested buyer for the team, Reggie eventually must accept that his team will fold, so he convinces his team to play their last game straight.

X-factor: Denis, the original “out there” goaltender. Vote for Slap Shot or you’ll be sent to the penalty box where you’ll be alone and feel shame.

Poll

Miracle vs. Slap Shot

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Miracle
    (125 votes)
  • 55%
    Slap Shot
    (156 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now

Finals, Third Place Match: Goon vs. The Mighty Ducks

Goon: Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) ends up as an enforcer on a minor league hockey team after demonstrating his supreme talent for fighting while spectating a game. He soon is moved up to protect a talented star forward that has lost his mental edge after being concussed by Ross Rhea (Liev Schrieber). Doug punches his way into the hearts of his teammates and fans, helping lead the team to the cusp of a playoff spot. Ross and Doug meet off the ice, and the aging Rhea, who is retiring at the end of the season, gives Doug his respect and a warning should they ever meet on the ice. Sure enough, the two square off in the last game of the regular season with the playoffs on the line.

X-factor: Doug Glatt lays it all out on the line. Doesn’t that kind of heart deserve some recognition? (warning: NSFW language and just so many teeth)

The Mighty Ducks: Successful but brash attorney Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is made to coach a PeeWee league team as community service for a DUI. The team has no practice facility, no equipment, not even a team name. Being badly outplayed, Bombay initially tries to coach his team to dive and play dirty, but the advice of his old mentor Hans (Joss Ackland) persuades him to coach the team right. Securing equipment and the name the Mighty Ducks for his team, Bombay coaches them to play hockey and they eventually square off against the Edina Hawks, Bombay’s former PeeWee team led by his old coach.

X-factor: Scoring on one out of five shots attempted is actually scary good... if you ignore the damage and injuries caused by the other four. Vote for The Mighty Ducks or take your chances in goal against Fulton Reed’s slapper.

Poll

Goon vs. The Mighty Ducks

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Goon
    (120 votes)
  • 49%
    The Mighty Ducks
    (116 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now

Polls close at 11:59 PM on Monday so get your votes in early.