Every four years the United States is reminded what a majestic sport hockey is. The lack of enthusiasm in the periods between the Olympics is unsettling for die-hard hockey fans, though when Team USA is pushing for gold everyone can get into the coolest game on ice.
We might not have invented the game or have beaten Canada in the last gold medal matchup or be to able claim Wayne Gretzky as one of our own, but America still has a rich hockey history. Four of the “Original 6” teams in the NHL were founded in the good ol’ US of A. There was also that “Miracle on Ice” thing and most recently the shootout heroics of TJ Oshie to defeat Russia on their home soil. Dare we point out that a Canadian team hasn’t won the coveted Stanley Cup in two decades?
If there’s one thing we can really hold over the heads of our hockey-breathing neighbors to the north, it’s the quality of AMERICAN characters in our hockey films. Ever the underdog, we’re willing to bet a fictional Team USA could have a real go at upsetting any Canadian team and returning the gold medal to the land of the free and the home of hockey’s bravest.
In honor of the Olympic tournament we’ve fielded a roster for a fictional USA Hockey team:
Head Coach: Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), Miracle
OK so Herb Brooks isn’t a fictional character. He’s the legendary mastermind behind the United States’ signature Winter Olympic moment. But we’re taking Kurt Russell’s version of Herb Brooks as the head coach of our team because he’ll need to find a balance between the goons, vets and Ducks that comprise our squad. If anyone could stir up some chemistry with the personalities we’ve assembled it’s a man who can give a speech like this:
Reggie “Reg” Dunlop (Paul Newman), Slap Shot
Reg went out in style, playing his brand of old-time hockey and leading his Charleston Chiefs to a championship as a beloved player-coach. Dunlop’s Chiefs lacked any real hockey talent but his crew of goons was the toughest team in the Federal League. Now that Dunlop has hung up the skates, he’s the ideal candidate to bring an edge, and his over-the-top fur coat, to our coaching staff.
Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), The Mighty Ducks
We imagine that Bombay, with his Ducks all grown up and his minor league hockey career long behind him, has lost his sense of purpose in life. These days Bombay is a recluse, banished to the log cabin in rural Minnesota and living out his days as a bearded, functional alcoholic. There’s no way better to get this man’s life back on track than to give him the second assistant coaching position for Team USA, a job that really has little bearing on this hypothetical international competition. In his prime, maybe Bombay gets consideration for the head coaching spot. Now, a call from Team USA seems like a good opportunity to get the architect of the triple-deke off the bottle.
And now here’s your starting lineup for Team USA!
Captain – Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson), The Mighty Ducks
Before he was solving mysteries on Fringe and even before he was breaking hearts and stealing Dawson’s girl on Dawson’s Creek, Joshua Jackson had a life-changing role as the captain of the greatest flock of ducks to ever step on ice. Jackson’s Charlie Conway was the leader of the Mighty Ducks but we’re slapping the “C” on his chest because we want him to be a leader of men. He’s already been the hero of an international hockey tournament in D2, and he’s plenty familiar with a number of Ducks teammates that also made our USA squad.
Stevie Weeks (Ryan Northcott), Mystery, Alaska
Alaska? That’s like almost Canada! The 49th state in the union is hockey mad and the boys in Mystery, Alaska proved they could play with anyone. Not only did Mystery nearly beat the New York Rangers in an exhibition, but also their star rook, the speedy Stevie Weeks, gets signed by the Blueshirts at the end of the film. Turns out when Weeks isn’t prematurely ejaculating before sex, he’s actually a pretty promising player. Weeks brings the young, athletic presence our team needs and if he keeps up the production he’ll have plenty of hockey babes shouting his name well into the night.
Jack, MVP: Most Valuable Primate
Like most great American hockey players, namely Team USA’s leading goal scorer Phil Kessel, Jack was sent to Canada by mistake. While he was north of the border, Jack developed his hockey skills, made a few buddies along the way and dominated the competition. Sure, he’s a chimpanzee. But this is America, the most accepting melting pot on God’s green earth! We’re taking the three best AMERICAN mammals to ever throw on a hockey sweater for our starting line and we’d be amiss to forget the Red, White and Blue’s most valuable primate.
Dave “Killer” Carlson (Jerry Houser), Slap Shot
Part of being an Olympic athlete is being a role model for the American youth. Kids have tried to emulate “Killer” Carlson and it has set the sport of hockey back a few years. Still, our team needs a strong physical presence and “Killer” will make sure no one wants to cross the blue line. Sometimes you have to pick the bad apples if you want to have a shot at glory.
Fulton Reed (Elden Henson), The Mighty Ducks
We hate to break up the Bash Brothers, but we’ll take Fulton’s wildly inaccurate slap shot and his defensive intensity to pair with “Killer” Carlson’s veteran leadership.
Greg Goldberg (Shaun Weiss), The Mighty Ducks
Another Duck? As if there was any other choice.
The Hanson Brothers, Slap Shot
They play with toys and it’s questionable as to whether they have anything close to 20/20 vision, but the Hanson brothers are the second line this country would love to rally around.
Julie Gaffney (Colombe Jacobsen) D2: The Mighty Ducks
Gaffney’s fast glove is ideal if Team USA has to play in a shootout or face Team Iceland.
Russ Tyler (Keenan Thompson), Defenseman, D2: The Mighty Ducks
Our fictional Team USA needs a shootout star like TJ Oshie. Russ Tyler is the perfect guy to be a serviceable fourth-liner but his real strength is the “knuclepuck,” a unpredictable slap shot that is at the mercy of the air in the arena.