The desire – however unrealistic in today’s hockey world – of Quebec one day reliving the glories of Lafleur and Béliveau and Richard were given a boost in recent months as the NHL showed a new willingness to entertain thoughts of re-establishing a team in Quebec City.
And it rose in an unexpected matter last week when Hockey Quebec was given the green light to put together its own team to compete in next summer’s Quebec Cup. Team Quebec will have status equal to the teams from Italy, France and Switzerland that had been invited to play in the proposed competition.
The plan – despite the various hurdles to be overcome – has been greeted enthusiastically in the province, particularly by sovereigntists who regarded the late, lamented Quebec Nordiques with their Fleur-de-Lys colours as a political force as much as a hockey team.
But it is also being embraced by players, such as Philadelphia’s Brière, a native of Gatineau.
“It’s great for French-Canadians and for the people of Quebec,” he says. “It’s also a chance for players to play in those tournaments – I have, and the experience is great.
“I think it’s cool.”
In its recent two-week run on 130 Canadian screens, Score: The Hockey Musical earned just $250,000 – a figure that crushed McGowan and his distributor Mongrel Media’s Hussain Amarshi, who are still trying to figure out what went so drastically wrong.
“My sense is that people who are into hockey did not find the idea of a hockey musical appealing to them,” says Amarshi, who spent $1-million marketing the $5-million film. “And people who like musicals did not want hockey as a theme. ... Maybe it was ahead of its time.”
Amarshi is not the only person in Canada wondering why our filmmakers have yet to make a movie about our game – one that resonates with hockey-mad Canadians and scores as a bona-fide hit at the box office.
[. . .]
In the United States, filmmakers have managed to make commercially popular films about their most beloved games. In baseball, there is Bang the Drum Slowly and Bull Durham. Football has The Longest Yard and, more recently, the Oscar-winning The Blind Side.
Globe and Mail columnist and author Roy MacGregor has a theoryabout why Canadians haven’t crossed that threshold: “Hockey rinks aren’t pretty. There is nothing visually attractive around hockey games. They’re not as attractive as curling. Golf has a beautiful setting. Football has the panorama of the big stadium,” adds MacGregor, who wrote the acclaimed hockey novel The Last Season. “A rink is an enclosed space of cold air. It’s also a very fast game. It’s not an intellectual game, and it doesn’t lend itself greatly to the metaphors for life, which is what the baseball movies do.”
And yes, Roy MacGregor features prominently in both of those articles--quoted in the first, author of the second.