BUFFALO, N.Y. – Celebrating one of the fastest, most challenging sports in the world and its role in Canadian life, “Hockey: More Than A Game” premieres Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. on WNED-TV Buffalo/Toronto. The film was co-produced by WNED-TV and Forevergreen Television & Film Productions Inc., of Dundas, Ontario. It will be distributed to 14 PBS stations that border Canada as of Dec. 1 and made available to all U.S. public television stations as of February 2012 via American Public Television (APT).
“I know this outstanding documentary will resonate with hockey fans on both sides of the border as well as all who enjoy good human drama,” says WNED President and CEO Donald K. Boswell. “WNED is committed to sharing the significant stories of our region, and I’m thrilled that this film will be available to public broadcasters reaching audiences throughout the United States and Canada.”
Exploring hockey history and culture, the entertaining and passionate documentary offers an insightful, intimate look at the game described as “Canada’s gift to the world.”
While capturing the timeless excitement of competition, the film relays the spirit of hockey among Canadians, its traditions, dramatic human stories and family commitment.
Viewers also learn how hockey has evolved over nearly 200 years — from open-pond outdoor games to professional play in packed National Hockey League arenas.
The film is filled with trivia (what good luck charm was hidden under the ice at the 2002 Olympic games?) and inspiring profiles (a young boy with dwarfism defies the stereotypes to tend goal).
Walter Gretzky, father of hockey icon Wayne Gretzky from Brantford, Ontario, reminisces about his son’s early interest in hockey and also recalls Canada’s moment of Olympic glory in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.
“It’s the first time I saw Canadians standing there waving Canadian flags and physically crying —and they’re singing ‘O Canada!’ It brought tears to my eyes,” he says in the film. “Canadians don't do that. We're proud but we're not vocal about it.”
In addition, authors, historians, NHL players, a hockey dad and coach from Dundas, Ontario, and the owner of the oldest hockey stick all share their perspectives.
The film highlights:
- The much-disputed origins of hockey
- Great moments in Canadian hockey, including the first slap shot, the 1972 8 Game Summit Series between Canada and the former Soviet Union, and Canada’s overtime win over Team USA in the 2010 Olympics
- Minorities and women in hockey, including interviews with winning Team Canada Olympians
- Interviews with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs; Buffalo Sabres Jason Pominville and Tyler Myers; and 2010 Team Canada Associate Coach/Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff
- Historic footage, including Phil Esposito’s plea to disappointed fans in 1972
- Fan enthusiasm and loyalty, including the pop culture phenomenon of “Hockey Night in Canada” and the spirited Kraft Hockeyville competition among Canadian communities
- The Stanley Cup, its history and patron namesake
- The Hockey Hall of Fame
The film was produced, directed and written by Alan Aylward, with co-producer/writers Jeremy Major and Aaron Lam. John Grant and David Rotterman are executive producers.
Major funding for “Hockey: More Than A Game” was provided by New Era Cap Company. Additional funding was provided by NOCO, the Frank L. Ciminelli Family Foundation, the Consulate of Canada in Buffalo, and the Royal Bank of Canada, with additional support from members of WNED Buffalo/Toronto.
This program continues WNED’s important tradition of showcasing the cultural and historical treasures of the Buffalo/Toronto region. Recent regional and national productions have included “Fort Niagara: The Struggle for a Continent” (2004), “Toronto’s Houses of Worship” (2005), “Niagara Falls” (2006), “Remembering Crystal Beach Park” (2008), “Our Town: Niagara Falls” (2011) and “The War of 1812” (2011). Upcoming national productions include “Underground Railroad: The William Still Story” and “Designers of the Game: Golf Course Architecture in America” (working title).
To preview a clip: “Hockey: More Than A Game”
For information about other WNED-related events, initiatives and news, please contact:
Megan M. Wagner
Director of Corporate Communications
716.845.7155 • email@example.com
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970, member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at wned.org.