Yvan Ponton and Yvon Barette (who played forward Jean-Guy Drouin and goaltender Denis Lemieux, the two French-Canadian players in the film) dubbed their own voices for the film's translated French version. The film is one of few mainstream American films that was translated in colloquial Québécois French and not Standard French. Heavy use of French-Canadian language and foul language has made this version of the film a cult classic in French Canada, where lines from the movie such as "Dave est magané" ("Dave's a mess") and "Du hockey comme dans le temps" (lit., "like hockey from the times" – "Old Time Hockey") are common catch phrases.
The movie was filmed in (and loosely based around) Johnstown, Pennsylvania and utilized several players from the then-active North American Hockey League Johnstown Jets (the team for which Dowd himself played) as extras. The Carlson Brothers and Dave Hanson also played for the Jets in real life. Many scenes were filmed in the Cambria County War Memorial Arena and Starr Arena in Hamilton, New York, the Utica Memorial Auditorium (used as "Peterborough" where the pre-game fight occurs and where a Hanson reprimands the referee for talking during the anthem), Onondaga County War Memorial in Syracuse, New York (used as "Hyannisport" where the Hanson Brothers charge into the stands to accost a fan and are subsequently arrested), and in other Johnstown locales. Coincidentally, the Johnstown Jets, and the NAHL, folded in 1977, the year Slap Shot was released.
Although much of the movie takes place during the Fall and Winter seasons, when hockey is in season, filming at the Utica Memorial Auditorium took place during the month of July. Similarly, in Johnstown, Paul Newman is wearing a coat as though it should be cold, but there is no snow on the ground and the trees are in full bloom.
The Reggie Dunlop character is based, in part, on former Eastern Hockey League Long Island Ducks player/coach John Brophy, who receives homage by his last name being used for the drunken center of the Hyannisport Presidents. Ironically, Brophy would later coach one of the Hanson brothers (Jack Hanson, real name Dave Hanson) in 1978 when he coached the Birmingham Bulls.
In one scene, announcer Jim Carr marvels that Ned Braden is "a college graduate...and an American citizen!" — both unusual distinctions for a pro hockey player of the time. In real life, actor Michael Ontkean was both, as well as a legitimate hockey player, starring for three years at the University of New Hampshire.
Syracuse Bulldogs rookie goon Ogie Ogilthorpe, who was mentioned throughout the film but never actually seen until the final playoff game, was based on longtime minor-league goon Bill "Goldie" Goldthorpe. Like Ogie Ogilthorpe, Goldie Goldthorpe is also infamous for his rookie season in professional hockey (1973) when as a member of the Syracuse Blazers he amassed 25 major fighting penalties before Christmas.
The Blades in the film were based on the Broome Dusters. One scene in the film was specifically drawn from events that occurred in Binghamton. In the movie, the Hanson brothers wear black-rimmed, Coke-bottle eyeglasses, and in one game, get into a fight immediately after the opening faceoff. In reality what happened was that both Jeff and Steve Carlson wore those type of glasses, and did get into a long fight right after an opening faceoff. Coach Dick Roberge told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, "We got into Binghamton about two or three weeks before the playoffs. In the team warmup, we're out there and all the Binghamton players came out with the plastic glasses and big noses, every one of them, poking fun at the Carlson brothers. We went back in the dressing room and the boys said, 'Coach, as soon as that puck is dropped, we're pairing up.' We had one heckuva fight. They went about 30 minutes until everyone got tired. We met them again in the finals (1974–75) and beat them four straight."
A scene in the film shows the Hanson brothers jumping the Peterboro Patriots during pre-game warm-ups. This scene is based on events in a mid-1970s North American Hockey League playoff series between the Johnstown Jets and the Buffalo Norsemen. The Jets had a black player on their roster, and during a playoff game held in North Tonawanda, New York (a northern suburb of Buffalo where the Norsemen played their home games) a Norsemen fan held up a derogatory sign stating that blacks should be playing basketball. The next game in the series was held in Johnstown, and the Jets retaliated by attacking the Norsemen players during the warm-ups, with a huge brawl erupting. The Norsemen players and coaches then returned to the dressing room and refused to come out to start the game. The game was awarded to the Jets by forfeit, as was the playoff series since the "win" gave the Jets the needed number of victories to capture the series. In an ironic twist of fate, in 1978 the NHL's Buffalo Sabres drafted a black player, Tony McKegney, who became the first black player to make a major impact in the NHL. McKegney played his Buffalo Sabres home games in front of many of the same fans who had attended Buffalo Norsemen games.
Another scene from the movie is also based on a real-life event. In the film, Jeff Hanson scores a goal and is hit in the face by a set of keys thrown by a fan. The Hansons then go into the stands after the fan and Jeff Hanson punches out the wrong fan. After the game, the Hansons are arrested for the incident. In real life, a similar incident occurred in Utica, New York in a game between the Johnstown Jets and the Mohawk Valley Comets. Jeff Carlson was hit in the face by a cup of ice thrown by a Utica fan and he went into the stands after the fan with his brothers Jack and Steve. All three were arrested and Dave Hanson gathered the money for bail for the Carlson brothers.
Read more about this topic: Slap Shot (film)
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