“Ice Guardians” is more than just a film about enforcers in hockey. At the heart of the film is a story about a class of guys just trying to do whatever it takes in order to get a shot at playing in the National Hockey League, a feat which is not easy in the least. The game has changed from the days of the Great One Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Hull, it’s a faster game with teams wanting guys who can put the puck in the back of the net instead of being willing to drop the gloves to defend their star player or light a fire under their teammates.
This film has gotten a lot of positive reviews on social media and positive articles, so of course when the news came out that the film would be on Netflix the beginning of October, I was pumped. It’s no secret that I love sport documentaries and throw in the fact that this film talks about my absolute favorite sport of hockey, and I’m definitely changing plans to watch this film the moment it drops. It also means that I had very high expectations from this film, and I’m happy to say that this film did not disappoint. It not only gave an impressive look into the sport of hockey and its history, but it also made me look at things in a different perspective and held my attention from start to the end credits.
So let’s dive into the key reasons why I love this film and think that you should drop everything you’re doing (unless it’s watching the Cubs playoff game against Washington which I’m doing as I write this).
The first reason why I love this film is because it gives an in-depth look into enforcers throughout the history of the game. Sure, there is no real definitive date as to when fighting in hockey actually started, but that’s not exactly the point. The point of asking fans when fighting started in the NHL is to prove that fighting has always been a part of the sport. The film discusses how the Swedish Hockey League doesn’t allow fighting and therefore has a lack of enforcer type players, but because of this lack of that type of guy there are a lot more cheap shots taken against players. Fighting in hockey serves a purpose, it’s to teach an opposing player a lesson when they get a cheap shot on a teammate, and it’s to motivate their teammates when the game is locked at 0-0 or they’re down some goals.
The second reason why I love this film is because of the argument raised throughout the film as to why fighting is important to the game. In the film the argument is raised that in the old days, when fighting was a common occurrence, stars in the league like Gretzky always had one guy who had their back so they could get the shot on the net. Gretzky didn’t have to worry about a guy getting a cheap shot because there was always a big guy there on his team ready to drop the gloves or deliver the big hit to protect the star. One of the commentators in the film actually speculates that Sidney Crosby might not have gotten some of his injuries if enforcers were still a thing in the league. Which given Crosby’s injury history including concussions and concussion symptoms (Jan 2011, Dec 2011, 2016, 2017) that came after hits from opposing players. So if Crosby had an enforcer like George Parros on his team he might not have suffered any of those hits because he would’ve had room to play.
These two reasons are only a smidge of what “Ice Guardians” offers and hopefully will spark your interest into sitting down and watching the film. I think that if you call yourself even remotely a fan of hockey then you need to watch this film because it’s going to open your eyes and make you look at the sport in another light. And if you’re one of those people that thinks that fighting and enforcers have no place in today’s NHL then I strongly urge you to watch this film to maybe see just why there is a place for fighting in hockey and it does actually serve a greater purpose in the game.
But don’t take my word for it, watch the film for yourself and hopefully you too will be Hooked Till the Credits.