From hockey, to tobogganing and skiing, and back to hockey again, here are some films to get you into the spirit of cold days, steaming cups of hot cocoa, snowy landscapes and the grand beauty of Canadian winters. Enjoy!
Featuring Jean Beliveau, this short film focuses on hockey from the inside out. Known as Canada's national pastime, this film demonstrates why hockey is such an exciting spectator sport. From east to west, the connection between fans and players is evident in the excited cries of "we've won!" From Pee-Wee to Bantam, from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to the big league pros, Here's Hockey! shows what it takes to make a great hockey player.
In this animated short, Roch Carrier recounts the most mortifying moment of his childhood. At a time when all his friends worshipped Maurice "Rocket" Richard and wore his number 9 Canadiens hockey jersey, the boy was mistakenly sent a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from Eaton's. Unable to convince his mother to send it back, he must face his friends wearing the colours of the opposing team. This short film, based on the book The Hockey Sweater, is an NFB classic that appeals to hockey lovers of all ages.
From Gerald Potterton (director of the cult classic Heavy Metal), this short film depicts the daydream of a chauffeur awaiting his employer. On a hot summer day, he begins to imagine that it's winter—the residential street where he's parked transforms into snowy mountains, and a series of comic misadventures begin. As the car is replaced by a toboggan, it carries the tycoon away on a dizzying ride. The chase includes some unforgettable antics in the snow, including a piggyback ride on an incredulous skier.
Meet Maurice Richard on and off the ice, and follow his spectacular career with the Montreal Canadiens--from the early '40s, when only a few thousand people turned out for pro hockey games, to the 1950s, when the Montreal Forum was bursting with delirious fans. Clarence Campbell, former president of the NHL, describes him as "the most exciting player I have ever seen in my life." The Rocket features footage from games and revealing interviews with Richard himself, the first star of the golden age of hockey.
Filmed in the Canadian Rockies and in Garibaldi Park, this documentary features magnificent footage of mountain solitudes and the wildlife found there, of natural splendour in all its changing moods. The film carries the implicit warning that all this may pass away if people do not seek to preserve it. Without words.
This short film takes you behind the scenes of the Quebec Nordiques. Coached by the legendary Maurice Richard, the team is playing its opening World Hockey Association game at the Quebec Coliseum. Experience the pre-game tension, the on-ice action and the dream-contract signing.
In this documentary, the members of the University of British Columbia's Thunderbirds hockey team travel to China to demonstrate their skills to the new teams in the East. While hockey there still has a long way to go, this film leaves no doubt that the Chinese players are up to the challenge. A film propelled by discoveries, it goes a long way to providing insight into the differences between East and West.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
Filmmaker Giles Walker takes an informal look at how our best skiers work and live. Filmed in 1976, this short movie follows the Canadian ski team on a tight schedule in Chile and Argentina. With 2 ½ tons of equipment, speeds of up to 140 km/h, gruelling workouts and a dramatic theft, it's safe to say that downhill racing is not for the faint of heart.
This short, silent film captures a Sunday afternoon at a community skating rink. Iconic Quebec director Gilles Carle has the camera follow toddlers learning to skate, young girls flashing their skates and boys decked out in the colours of their favourite hockey teams. A picture perfect moment on a bright winter's day.
This short film retraces the life of Herman Smith Johannsen – the man who introduced the sport of cross-country skiing to Canadians. From past to present, his life story is portrayed through pictures from sports newsreels, Norwegian archives and his family album. The film catches up with him at both the Canadian Ski Marathon, where he is the honoured guest, and on a return trip to his native Norway.