Seven Subjects For Films NHL Original Productions Should Consider

So now that NHL Original Productions exist and we have at least one idea of what they will be doing (a documentary on the Summit Series debuting January 2nd) it got me (and much of Twitter) thinking about what could come after that. I figure that the league’s productions will stray from more controversial subjects (see below), but here are seven people and events that should be covered.

1. Eric Lindros

Lindros, to me, is the most dynamic subject you could possibly have for a film. I’d make a movie just about that afternoon in Nashville where Keith Jones saved his life (please read John Buccigross’ book Jonesy, Put Your Head Down and Skate for more) or just about when he refused to play for the Nordiques, or just about the 27 month period in which he suffered six concussions. 27 months! Bill Simmons spoke at the Sports Media and Technology conference this week, and mentioned he wanted to do a follow-up to 30 in 30. Well, if the NHL passes up on this idea, I hope Simmons picks this up as the “token hockey film”. Could be a fantastic look into an at times very successful, and at times seemingly tragic life in hockey.

2. The Avs-Wings Rivalry

I am a big fan of Adrian Dater’s book Blood Feud, which takes readers deep inside the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry of the late 90’s/early 00’s. However, the Red Wings/Avs rivalry has a lot of images that a book simply cannot convey. Draper’s bloody face, the highlights of the 7-0 drubbing in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Final, the showdown at the Joe and Lemieux’s turtle. Dater did a great job of getting candid opinions out of the participants in that rivalry, but if they’re willing to do the same on television, there’s definitely room for a film. Hell, Adrian if you’re reading (and I know he isn’t), pitch it right now as a filmed adaptation of your book. Has there ever been a documentary that was “adapted” from a book? Probably not. Though I’d take a live reading by all the interviewees set to highlights from those great games.

3. Mario Lemieux

Another “fish in a barrel” subject. Remember that shoddy OLN documentary that used to air all the time before and after hockey games on Mario? While that had good intentions, a film that captures the magic of Mario would certainly be welcomed.

4. Glow Pucks

Look, this is probably only because of the website I run, but I think a film that showed off the making, public opinion and eventual demise of FoxTrax would be pretty great. Aside: I met a couple of the men who were behind that system a couple days ago. Hopefully you’ll see the fruits of that meeting sometime soon.

5. World Cup ’96

The reason an American-produced documentary about the Summit Series and not, say, the Miracle on Ice makes sense is because there have been so few originating from this country, if any. In comparison, there have been numerous documentaries and fictionalized accounts of the Miracle on Ice. So why not do one on the next great American international team, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey squad. Longtime readers will know well my fascination with that tournament, and that’s because there was never anything like it again, at least up until now. The Americans having to win two straight in Canada on home ice to take home the Cup is worth revisiting.

6. Slap Shot/Hockey Movies

Gary Bettman has long exiled the Hanson Brothers and the film Slap Shot to the fringes of hockey fandom for so many years, but it is time to embrace that movie. There have been quite a few books released about the films in recent years, so why not get the Hansons and the rest of those still alive involved with the film down for a chat. Maybe a town hall in New York City. Since Greenburg is working on Bob Costas’ revived town halls, why not do one of those around the Stanley Cup Final? So many hockey fans have such a reverence for that movie that is borderline fanatical, it’d be a shame if we didn’t do something special with those actors while they are still around.

7. Theo Fleury

Of all the ideas, this is probably the most far-fetched due to it’s potentially troubling nature (it seems more of an HBO idea). With the Penn State scandal still ringing through the public’s consciousness, Fleury has appeared a few times on television to discuss his own experience (he already has a book) and speak out for those who have suffered similar atrocities at the hands of trusted adults. Anyway, the time could be right to do a film about Fleury’s experiences and use it to speak out against these monsters who, sadly, occasionally populate youth sports. As with a couple other of these ideas, they might fit better on HBO or 30 for 30, but I think at least a few are worth exploring by this new NHL department.

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About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

3 Responses to Seven Subjects For Films NHL Original Productions Should Consider

  1. Chris S says:

    I’d like to see one on the lockout of 2004-05. Worst winter of my life, but worthy of a look back.

  2. Ryan says:

    Definitely some solid ideas here. The first two would interest me the most (Fleury the least because I think his life is/was a lot darker than most people realize), World Cup 96 would be good as well.

    A few scatterbrained suggestions of my own – either the 98 or 02 Olympics would be great. More specifically, 2002 with a focus on the Belarussians and how their unlikely success has grown the game in that country. Retrospectives on the Hartford Whalers and California Golden Seals. The Patrick Roy to Colorado trade. John Kordic. Roger Neilson. The WHA. The craziness of the late 80s/early 90s Norris Division. Mike Keenan vs. Mark Messier in Vancouver.

  3. nyrmetros says:

    The 1996 IIHF World Cup featured the greatest collection of professional American hockey players ever. This story needs to be told over and over. 1980 paved the way for 1996. 1996 paved the way for silver in 2010.

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