Hockeyland – The movie is not like that miracle or The great duck. There are plenty of Minnesota dialects, a team called the Hawks, and inspiring speeches, but the stories are fundamentally different.
“In the unforgiving state of Northern Minnesota,” states the slogan of the new documentary hockey land, “Big boys from rival communities skate for one last chance to have their names written in local lore.”
This article was not written by a hockey fan. I can stay upright on ice skates, but am a much better spectator, although I can never really remember the difference between snowboarding and slipping. However, one does not have to understand the intricacies of stick-handling, swiping, and shooting to appreciate movement and emotion on screen.
hockey land It was produced by Northland Films and directed by Tommy Haines, who grew up in Mountain Iron knowing all too well how hockey flows through northern Minnesota life like the veins of iron ore. The film follows the Eveleth Gilbert Golden Bears hockey teams and the Hermantown Hawks boys’ team as they prepare for the playoff season.
The film is as much about the boys’ lives off the ice as their practices and games.
According to Haines, the story follows “the natural drama of a collective obsession with the high school hockey season. But the heart comes from decoding closely guarded personal tales of shame, pain, life, loss, and daring to dream big.”
In an early scene, Iron Range author Aaron Brown said the hockey power of Eveleth and Hermantown “crossed over the night” in the 1990s. By then, the Eveleth Schools had solidified with Gilbert, and the Golden Bears last appeared in the state championship when they won the Class A title – against Hermantown – in 1998.
Evelethians were playing hockey about 75 years before Herman Township was incorporated as a town, but the Hermantown Hawks are now the state champions. Both teams appeared in hockey land They are placed side by side as someone whose glory days have passed and one trying to live up to their newfound reputation.
Despite the two cities’ differences in history and industry, hockey land Not the story of David and Goliath. There is no evil. Both teams seem to share the screen equally, and since we give an in-depth look at two boys from each team, we see that the similarities are as prevalent as the differences.
“My overall impression is that the filmmakers did an excellent job of giving an insider’s view of high school sports, and hockey in particular,” said Kristen Troutwin, whose son Will is one of the featured players. “We really enjoyed getting a different perspective than just watching a match.”
With candor, humor, and passion, the filmmakers showed that Golden Bear Elliot Van Ursdale, who was somewhat known as a troublemaker, scored a 100. EGHS schoolmate Will Troutwin was crowned Snow Week King, as he applied to attend Ivy League colleges. Meanwhile, in Hermantown, Blake Biondi is running for the Mr. Hockey, and Indio Dodd perseveres on the ice despite being diagnosed with scoliosis and his mother’s cancer diagnosis.
“We’ve always wanted to make a movie about hockey and we’ve always wanted to make a movie about northern hockey,” said producer and writer JT Haines, brother of director Tommy.
JT said the filmmakers received a warm welcome when they met with former EG coach Jeff Turrell and Hermantown coach Pat Andrews. Both teams had great storytelling potential.
“We were probably making 15 movies with all the shots we shot,” JT Haines said after the September 10 show at Mountain Iron. “Some of my favorite moments are the quiet moments…when they forget the cameras are rolling and just live their lives.”
Haines noted that while he and the other production team would like to make a similar movie about girls’ hockey, logistical concerns make this a challenge for a male-owned film company.
Jessica Van Ursdale, Elliot’s mother, said after the show that the film project was a shock at first.
Elliott came home from hockey practice and said, ‘The film crew will be here in five minutes. We were in the middle of building—we tore our house down—and I said, ‘Uh, what did you say?’
Jessica didn’t realize what the project would become and added that “one of the best things about this movie” was meeting the kind and brave mother of Laurie Dodd at the Hermantown hockey game.
Jeff Turrell said, “When you see yourself in the movie and you’re not an actor or you’re not used to it, you just swing, but then when you see what’s really in the movie, you see what the team means to you, what the changing room means to you; You see and hear about some background.You watch this and you think, “Wow, there’s a lot more going on in life than hockey.”
Kristen Troutwin echoed the sentiment that hockey land It is a sports movie that does not focus solely on athletics.
She said, “I also think it is a good way to understand hockey and any organized activity, it is a great way for children to experience a society where they can mature and grow and, if necessary, escape the problems of life in a healthy way.”
I’m sorry to say that I don’t follow local hockey enough to know how the movie ended when I watched it on September 10th. If that describes you too, I wouldn’t spoil the ending. You can discover it for yourselves in theaters or online. hockey land Streaming on Amazon and Apple TV begins October 18. Visit www.hockeylandmovie.com to find out more.
“Looking at the team, I grew up with these guys,” Elliot Van Ursdale said as the movie drew to a close. “It’s been so long, and it’s hard to see the end of it. Hockey has given me more than I could ask for.”
Tucker Nelson lives in Virginia with his wife, stepdaughter, and cats. He grew up in Evelith, home of the US Hockey Hall of Fame, and when he’s not watching hockey documentaries, he can be reached by emailing [email protected]