When making a hockey movie, there’s no substitute for having real players in front of the camera. Even the best editing techniques or CGI cannot replace someone who can stickhandle and skate.
Here are five movies that used NHL players in their hockey scenes:
> The Love Guru (2008)
This unfunny comedy stars Mike Myers as a relationship expert who helps Maple Leafs star Darren Roanoke win back his wife. Rob Blake makes a cameo as himself, while two other NHLers have non-speaking roles. Former enforcer Bob Probert dons a jersey with the name Armstrong on the back and is one of the Kings players who double-teams Roanoke into the boards. Journeyman tough guy Jim Thomson, who suited up for Los Angeles in the early 1990s, has his own name on his sweater and plays the Kings’ long-haired, helmetless captain.
> Sudden Death (1995)
Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille appears as himself in this action thriller about a terrorist plot at Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. But former Penguins enforcer Jay Caufield also gets some screen time, playing Pens goalie Brad Tolliver. Early in the film, protagonist Darren McCord visits the Penguins’ dressing room, speaks French to Robitaille, then has an awkward conversation with the intimidating Tolliver. Robitaille and Caufield later appear in game-action sequences.
> Youngblood (1986)
We will never forget longtime NHLer Eric Nesterenko’s performance as Blane Youngblood, teaching his son Dean how to “survive on the ice.” But a few background players in the film also went on to successful NHL careers. Paul Cavallini suited up as one of the Bombers, while Steve Thomas and Peter Zezel were Mustangs players. Thomas’ character Jorde is the Mustang on the leg-press machine who gets snapped with a towel by team captain Derek Sutton, and then later helps with Dean’s “initiation.” Zezel is Mustangs alternate captain Rossini, who most notably is sent onto the ice to replace Dean in the closing seconds of the final game, only to skate back to the bench when Dean refuses to leave.
> The Rocket (2005)
This movie about NHL legend Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard had no shortage of star power. Vincent Lecavalier, Stephane Quintal, Ian Laperriere, Pascal Dupuis and Mathieu Dandenault have small, non-speaking roles as Jean Beliveau, Dollard St-Laurent, Bernie Geoffrion, Milt Schmidt and Hal Laycoe, respectively. However, Mike Ricci and Sean Avery have more substantial parts. Ricci plays Richard’s linemate Elmer Lach and has some dialogue. Avery plays Rangers tough guy Bob Dill and gets ample screen time in a pivotal part of the film.
> Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Former Flyers winger Dale Kushner plays Rangers agitator Yeaton in this hockey drama. Early in the game between the Mystery team and the Rangers, Yeaton gets checked by Mystery gentle giant ‘Tree’ Lane, retaliates, and gets penalized, leading to Mystery’s second goal. Later, Yeaton knocks Mystery sniper Stevie Weeks into the Rangers bench, then smirks while skating off. Mystery captain John Biebe returns the favor, literally knocking Yeaton out of the rink in the third period.