"Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, The Whale? They only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime." If that quote is the sum total of your NHL knowledge then you, like me, are probably indebted for filmmaker Kevin SMith for that tiny kernel of wisdom. Smith, who has regularly featured hockey in his films -- from characters wearing jerseys and playing hockey on the roof to a Sega NHL game to a group of hockey stick-wielding hellspawn -- took his opportunity to narrate a recent throwback short about the Edmonton Oilers' first Stanley Cup win without Wayne Gretzky, which took place thirty years ago last week.
At a time when professional sports are on hiatus, re-airing classic match-ups has become an important revenue driver for sports broadcasters, and in this case, it seems they figured that maybe they could reach out to a little bit of a different audience by including the voice of one of pop culture's most vocal hockey nuts.
You can check it out below.
30 years ago, the @EdmontonOilers proved that they were more than a one man team when they captured their 5th Stanley Cup - their first without Wayne Gretzky. @Sportsnet let me narrate this piece about the Team that made #YEG the City of Champions! https://t.co/YpD4pSLg7g— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) May 25, 2020
In addition to Jaws and Star Wars, hockey was one of the early calling calls of Smith's films, appearing in Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and beyond. It has continued to have a presence through movies like Yoga Hosers and through Smith's (now mostly abandoned) long-standing tradition of wearing hockey jerseys during live events.
The 1990 Stanley Cup Finals was played between the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins; the Oilers won the best of seven series, four games to one. The series was a rematch of the 1988 Finals, excepting that Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players in league history, had been traded traded from Edmonton to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1988 off-season. Since the Oilers had not made the finals the year before (that contest was won by the Calgary Flames, who beat the Montreal Canadiens in six games), there was a sense that without Gretzky, they had little chance of winning. As Smith notes in the video, the decisive victory proved that the dynasty was bigger than any one player, even one who loomed as large as Gretzky. It would be the Oilers' fifth Cup win in seven years, and the team's only championship after trading Gretzky.
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