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Slap Shot

Slap Shot is best hockey comedy in existence

slapshot-best-sports-comedies-rated-rPaul Newman on Slap Shot movie posterSlap Shot is a 1977 sports comedy about the Chiefs, a minor-league hockey team with a terrible record and empty stands. The only thing more depressing than their win-lose ratio is the fact that their hometown’s mill is closing, leaving 10,000 out of work. With the mill closed, it is looking like the Chiefs are going to have to fold, and instead of trying to make their team a success, manager Joe McGrath (Strother Martin) is more interested in selling off equipment and staging ridiculous promotional events to keep fans returning. The Chiefs’ coach and Captain Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) has other ideas, and will do anything for a win to get the fans back into the game. Slap Shot is the story of Reggie as he tries to give his team and his players a fighting chance at a good future.

Who are the Chiefs?

Captain Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman)

Reggie and the town he lives in have both seen better days. While he might not be the best player, or even the best coach, he is the best con-man the Chiefs have ever had. He is willing to stoop to any low to get his Chiefs a win, to fill his stands, and to get back his ex-wife. He’s slick and has a jab for everyone, verbal or physical. While Reggie is slick as oil, he also has a heart, which is the duality which makes his character so likeable. He’s getting old, and this might be his last chance to do something worthwhile in his hockey career.

The Hanson brothers


The Hanson brothers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty… with their opponents’ blood.

When Reggie sees the trio of brothers that are the newest additions to his team, he can only shake his head in disgust. With matching hairdos and matching coke-bottle glasses, these be-speckled brother’s bring their toy cars everywhere they go. Reggie plays them out of desperation, and is amazed to see just what lies under their childlike demeanor. They are the most disgraceful, dirtiest set of hockey players I have ever seen, and will fight anyone who comes into their path. Their style of play is explosive, and as Reggie hears the fans react and the boards start filling, he goes down the path of goonhood for his team. Since Slap Shot is an R rated comedy, get ready for some blood.



Braden doesn’t play for cash, he plays for the love of the game

Star forward Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean)

Ned doesn’t appreciate the way the Chiefs’ are going- he would rather lose a clean game than win a dirty one. He doesn’t need to be playing hockey to support himself, and his love for the game makes the goonish newfangled style of the Chiefs especially grating. This puts him at odds with coach Reggie, who knows the only chance that the Chiefs have of another season is to fill those stands. College educated and with a marriage on the ropes, Ned is under a lot of stress- but will his principles hold up?

Carlson (Jerry Houser)

dave-killer-carlson-jerry-houser-in-slap-shotdave-killerSoft spoken and deadly, Dave starts out mild mannered and ends up earning himself the name Killer as his play gets dirty and his fists get bloody. He’s known for his zen like state of mind and his raw exuberance.


The most perverted member of the Chiefs, Maurice is more interested in scoring in bed than scoring on the ice. Most memorable Maurice quote? “This isn’t art, this is sex!” Maurice ads a little raunchy humour to fulfill the sexual quote of an R rated comedy.

The Quebecois goaltender

Short and possessing only a loose grasp of the English language, the Chiefs’ goaltender is one of the nicest yet least happy members of the team. Suffering from horrible allergies, he’s hilarious to watch as he tries his best to make his way through life.

3 reasons Slap Shot on my list of best comedies of 1977

funny-hockey-fight-slap-shot-bench-clearing-brawl1. I love hockey. If you love hockey too, you should watch this movie. Although most of the games devolve into bare-knuckled brawls, it helps to have a love of the game.
2. Paul Newman as Reggie. Paul Newman plays Reggie to perfection, and the only character I could compare him to is Han Solo. Always the rogue, and always with a plan and a lie to tell, Reggie is keeping the Chiefs together by a hair. When he isn’t trying to keep his team together, he’s out trying to get into strange women’s beds while trying to get his ex wife back. Reggie has a lot on his plate.

hanson-brothers-slap-shot-bloody-and-bruised3. The Hanson brother’s. The Hanson brothers absolutely make this movie. They are the strangest, most compelling bunch I have seen, and no one can predict their next move. They go at everything in their life with raw enthusiasm, and watching them standing stoic with broken glasses and bleeding faces as the national anthem plays is one of the best scenes in Slap Shot. These guys are most of the reason that Slap Shot is an R rated comedy- they are violence incarnate.

The women

Being a hockey wife doesn’t seem so glamorous, and is a lot of sitting at home while the boys are on the road. They all deal with it differently, some better than others.

Lily (Linsday Cruse)


Lily goes through life with a wry smile and… rye.

When Ned Braden’s wife Lily isn’t drinking, she’s sleeping. The mill-town is killing her, and she’s falling apart at the seams. Their relationship is stressed to the point of breaking, and it looks like it might fall apart at any second.



Francine (Jennifer Warren)


Reggie plays in the minors, and she is a major league girl.

No one knows how Francine got caught up with a rogue like Reggie, least of all Reggie. What he does know is he wants her back. She’s a gorgeous blonde who has her life together, which is bad news for our hero.

Who would enjoy watching Slap Shot?

If you enjoy hockey and don’t mind some nudity and a lot of fighting, you will like Slap Shot. As well, you will enjoy Slap Shot if you like sports comedies. This one is a classic, and even those who don’t like hockey should find something in this movie for them. Reggie is hilarious to watch as a smooth talking conman coach, and hearing the tales of these guys is great. Slap Shot is a great R rated comedy, and if you don’t mind the violence and nudity you will love it. Be warned- Slap Shot is an R rated comedy for a reason. It is unrepentantly vulgar, and if you ever wanted to know what hockey players say to make each other fight- well, now you will.

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