Movie Review: Goalie – Keep Your Stick On The Ice

Kevin-Pollak-in-Goalie-Courtsey-of-Mongrel-MediaEveryone has their own view of what an athlete is worth, but the coach ultimately determines who goes onto the ice and who sits on the bench.

The life of professional hockey goalie, Terry Sawchuk, shows the extreme highs and lows of being a sports superstar.  After a while, that shot of whisky doesn’t even come close to touching the pain and all the cheers once heard from the crowds become silent.

In this Canadian biography, Goalie; Mark O’Brien plays the legendary goalie for The Red Wings (while also being traded for other teams throughout his career), Terry Sawchuk. No matter what sport you play, there is always a level of uncertainty that this may be your last game. Terry never stopped playing even through over 400 stitches and countless injuries. As blood dripped down from his face in the locker room, he still laced up his skates and went out there to perform. Some may say his dedication was an unhealthy obsession brewing from a very dysfunctional childhood, while others see him as their hero out doing what he was paid to do, like any career.

Not having any protective gear, like a face mask for a goalie seemed absolutely absurd because of the aggressive nature of hockey, but it was the norm. Terry started wearing his mask in the early 60’s, and it was only in 1966 that full protective face masks were standard equipment hockey.

The film is deeply saddening, but shows the impact that Terry left on many people who knew him from team-mates to family. There is one moment on the subject of friendship that is literally heart-breaking.  The acting was great though, as Mark O’Brien delivers a wonderful performance as well as Kevin Pollak, who played his ill-tempered coach, Jack Adams.

All the accolades, like four Stanley Cup wins and 103 shut-out victories are impressive, but this tragic story is one that begs the question, does the goalie always have to go first?

Photo: Courtsey of Mongrel Media
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