Last year I wrote an article about a discovery I made on YouTube by accident. Where I tried to find highlights of my hometown's run to a state title only to find this short comedy film called Nate Sawyerchuk, Hockey Player produced by Ak Elk Productions. The film is about hopes and dreams as well as sports and the delusions of grandeur they sometimes can produce. If you're expecting something as funny as Slap Shot you'll be disappointed, but it does its best to hit all of the classic hockey stereotypes. You can read my full article about that film here. This time it wasn't as much as a random discovery as it was being contacted by a few movie producers who felt I'd enjoy a short comedic film they created during the NHL Lockout called Hockey Night in Asia produced by Mitch and Murray Films. Had the NHL Lockout lasted a little longer (I got their E-mail on January 10th) I would've probably posted about this then but 9 days later the lockout ended and I had lots of NHL hockey to cover. Since there isn't a lot of hockey or hockey related news, I figured I'd help out and provide a bit of a hockey-related distraction as I did last year.
The premise for Hockey Night in Asia is about two hockey players from Canada who find themselves out of work (I'm going to assume due to the NHL lockout) so they decide to bide their time and take their chance to make a little money by playing hockey in China. The two players, Jack Grimsley and Jesus Nickleback (nice names huh?) think they will dominate this Asian league. Yet they learn that its not going to be quite as easy as they thought rather quickly. So where can I see this terrific hockey short film?
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Right here! The film's story, created by Aaron Craven, who also plays Jack Grimsley is one with humor akin to Slap Shot. Below is the short film and for the most part I'd say it speaks for itself. So if you feel you don't want to hear some vulgar one liners then perhaps you do not want to watch the clip below. Yet I'm guessing if you watched Slap Shot nothing you will see will offend you at all.
The Beer League
Oddly enough, my viewing of Hockey Night in Asia ended up resulting in me discovering another hockey comedy series in the pilot episode to the The Beer League. The show seems to be a combination of Slap Shot when combined with the style of the comedy classic television show The Office or Parks & Recreation. Like the Office, for whatever reason reality show like cameras follow a beer league hockey team and the humorous stories broken up with 'confessionals' with the various characters.
The little stories are part ridiculous but also very relateable to anyone to has played beer league hockey. The camraderie extending to hanging out and playing poker and the social collisions of married life are also something that provides humor as well as a grain of truth to it all. I could be wrong but one of the players looks a little like the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Wild beat writer Michael Russo and the Beer League's Mickey "The Trigger" Malloy at first glance.
Separated at birth?
The series aired on Canada's City TV back in 2009-11 with a few other recreations later on. The series is set in Calgary so there are often Flames' references interwoven in some of the humor. As far as I can tell they only produced a few episodes. Below is the entire first pilot episode and as before I'd let you know it has adult subject matter.
I have links to a number of their other The Beer League episodes below. The links are of clips often between 2 minutes to about 10 minutes in length yet you'll have a feel for the entire series. What do you think of Hockey Night in Asia and The Beer League? Please share with us your thoughts.