The NHL constantly faces an uphill battle when it comes to getting the attention of the American sports audience. So what better way to ingrain itself in our consciousness than by popping up when you least expect it? With the 2010 Playoffs just around the corner, here are some of those moments when hockey—subliminally or obviously—found its way into movies and videos that weren't otherwise hockey-related (so anyone who mentions Slap Shot, Sudden Death, or The Mighty Ducks can politely STFU).
10. Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" Video
The Doggfather not only gives a stylish shout-out to the outmoded Pittsburgh Penguins jersey (the one with "PITTSBURGH" diagonally-across the chest that the team sported for a brief time), he also goes one further and gets minor league on your ass. At one point in his tribute to getting fucked up, Snoop dons a Springfield Indians jersey from when they sported a color scheme that reflected the early-90s Hartford Whalers. That's right, he got obscure up in this motherfucker.
9. NHL 94 in Swingers
"It's not so much me as it's Roenick. He's good." The SEGA game that still brings warm feelings to the cockles of hockey fans had a star-making turn in the 90s cult classic. Vince Vaughn's Trent schools Patrick Van Horn's "Super Fan #99" with the Chicago Blackhawks—proving once and for all that the L.A. Kings are, indeed, a "bitch team."
8. The Minnesota North Stars in Untamed Heart
In this rarely-talked about romantic drama about a young girl (Marisa Tomei) who falls for a homeless dishwasher with a baboon heart (Christian Slater), we are shown a key moment in the young couple's courtship that revolves around a trip to a Minnesota North Stars (now Dallas Stars) game. Slater's monkey boy enjoys the game so much it KILLS HIM. No joke. How's that for an NHL ad campaign?
7. Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
What better way to establish Cameron as an outsider than by making him a Detroit Red Wings fan in Chicago? Blasphemy! But Cameron proves he's not just a glutton for punishment, he's got cojones of steel—watch in awe as he casually sports his Gordie Howe jersey during a trip to Wrigley Field. People have been tarred and feathered for less.
6. Sub-Zero in The Running Man
In The Running Man, Arnold Schwarzenegger has to survive a futuristic game show that pits contestants against heavily-armed (and heavily gimmicked) American Gladiator-style warriors. The first one he meets is a pudgy Asian guy. So what's his theme? Sumo wrestling? Samurai? Ninja? IT guy? Nope. He's a crazed goalie with razor-tipped sticks. Naturally.
5. The L.A. Kings (?) in Lethal Weapon 3
Riggs and Murtaugh track a rogue ex-cop as he attends his favorite past time—A Los Angeles Kings game. Or is it? Several of the long shots clearly show recognizable Kings players—superstar winger Luc Robitaille especially—but once the action hits ice level, we get badly-outfitted extras with made-up logos on their chests. They fuck you with the copyright infringements! They fuck you with the copyright infringements!
4. Det. Danny Costanzo in Running Scared
Now this is more like it—are you listening, Frye? Danny is a Chicago cop proudly supporting his local team. Just one question: Where did he get a skin-tight Hawks jersey like that? What size is that, XXXS? Have you been raiding Patrick Kane's locker?
3. George Michael's "Too Funky" Video
In a follow-up to his supermodel-laden "Freedom 90" video, Gorgeous George continued with the fashion theme and cast himself as a film director shooting a runway show. And what says "fashion director" better than anything else? An L.A. Kings cap, apparently. This is the most fey use of the Kings logo since Ron Duguay wore a uniform.
2. Cooper Helmets in RoboCop
Police of the future have some kick-ass body armor, but the budget must have run out before they got to their heads. A quick trip to the sporting goods store and a can of black spray paint later, and the old Cooper helmet is now protecting the heads of Murphy and Lewis.
1. Extreme's "Hole Hearted" Video
The tepid Boston rockers may have written the soundtrack to every awful high school dance you ever attended, but they were also, apparently, big time Bruins fans. So big, in fact, that they roped in Bruins legend (and cinematic Seabass) Cam Neely (the one in the career-ending knee brace on the left) and cement-headed former Wayne Gretzky bodyguard Marty McSorley (the blonde strangling a guitar on the right) for their little love ballad. Bruins fans tearfully admit that they, too, have a hole in their hearts that can only be filled by Cam.