Earlier in the month, I wrote the first part of an article on six great hockey documentaries you can watch online. In that article, I covered documentaries about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crash, the tragic story of Derek Boogaard and the life of a small town hockey team. It is true that you can access hockey in whatever form works best for you. From games, to books to social media, the consumption of the sport is available at any given time. One of the ways that fans of the game can access their sport is through the documentary film industry.
Broad Street Bullies
Broad Street Bullies is an excellent watch not only for fans of the Philadelphia Flyers but for hockey fans in general. Following the team from their start as an NHL expansion team in 1967 to their Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1976, the film shows what it’s like to bring a new NHL team into a city that isn’t sure it wants a team. Over the course of the film, produced by HBO Sports in 2010, the Flyers learn that they need to add muscle to their team and through the addition of the players created a team known as the “Broad Street Bullies.” This fascinating look at the game’s bruisers is entertaining and informative.
While it may not contain anything beyond what a die hard Flyers fan already knows, the documentary contains information on the key members of the Flyers organization during the time period it captures including Dave Schultz and Fred Shero. I say it is a must watch for those who are interested in the history of the game and the NHL, but it’s also a must watch to see some of the odd things that happened during the first years of the Flyers organization. From a game played in fog to a bat flying around the arena, the documentary contains many things to capture the attention of the viewer.
While the most known documentary on Russia’s hockey empire, “Red Army”, is not available online, Housebars Produktion’s “CCCP Hockey” is and it is equally as fascinating. This documentary takes the viewer into the fall of the Soviet Union as seen through the eyes of players known as the “Super Five,” the “Russian Five” and/or the “KLM Line.” Viacheslav Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Sergei Makarov, Igor Larionov and Vladimir Krutov were widely known in the 80’s as the best line in Soviet hockey, but what fans of this group weren’t privy to was that these hockey players were being used to push the Soviet State’s propaganda.
While being coached by the formidable Viktor Tikhonov, these players started a revolt against him and the Soviet regime that echoed through the Soviet Union. By utilizing interviews with the five players, this documentary does well to show what life was like for them all before, during and after the revolt. The creators of the documentary don’t simply interview the players however, the documentary also contains a very honest discussion with Viktor Tikhonov himself. By providing a glimpse into a world that we only vaguely know about in North America, this documentary is a stellar watch and I highly recommend it.
(Unfortunately, the individual who uploaded the English version to Youtube has disabled direct embedding, so to access this documentary please click here.)
Fuelled By Passion: The Return of the Jets
This is a must watch documentary for those die hard Jets fans who were excited to see the Jets return to the city of Winnipeg, albeit in a different form. This documentary, created by Frantic Films and broadcast by CBC, follows the arrival of the Jets in Winnipeg for another round. The documentary involves discussion of how the Jets came to Winnipeg, the troubles that the True North group had with obtaining the first team they attempted to buy and the overwhelming feeling of excitement throughout the city of Winnipeg when the purchase of the Thrashers went through. By including interviews with former owner Barry Shenkarow and current chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment Mark Chipman as well as interviews with some of the citizens of Winnipeg the documentary goes beyond simply telling facts and focuses on how the Jets returning impacted the city itself as well as the NHL.
In addition to the many interviews, this documentary also includes an interesting discussion with one of the Jets more unique co-owners, David Thomson who has been granted peerage by the United Kingdom in the succession of his father and carries the title “3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet.” One of the other interesting things the documentary contains is an interview with former head coach Claude Noel and current GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in which they share with the viewer an inside look on how decisions are made as far as the roster goes.
The documentary shows what it was like for the former Thrashers to come to Winnipeg and begin rookie camp as well as training camp before their first season in the blue and silver. Containing interviews with current captain Andrew Ladd and then new-comer Mark Scheifele, this documentary should be a must watch for all Jets fans, and fans of hockey in general. Beyond the interviews, this documentary succeeds on tying the old Jets in to the new Jets team and provides a look at how events surrounding the team affected the people of the city itself. From discussion surrounding the destruction of the old arena and the building of the MTS Centre as it stands today, the focus on how the return of the Jets meant more than just a hockey team to the people of Winnipeg is important and makes this film shine.