Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) is a seventeen-year-old farmer's son from New York who wants to play in the National Hockey League. He goes to Canada, where he tries out for and joins the Hamilton Mustangs, a minor league team. Dean is a talented player, but his lack of physical toughness causes him to get bullied by his teammates and beaten up by his opponents. However, he befriends his teammate Derek Sutton (Patrick Swayze) and falls in love with Jessie Chadwick (Cynthia Gibb), the coach's daughter.
Youngblood contains examples of:
- Achilles in His Tent: After Racki injures Sutton, Dean quits the Mustangs and goes back to the farm. Kelly chews him out for wasting his opportunity and persuades him to go back to Canada. He talks Chadwick into letting him rejoin the team, and he leads the Mustangs to victory against the Bombers.
- Because I Said So: Dean asks why he should go back on the ice after Sutton's injury. Coach Chadwick (Ed Lauter) says, "Because I said so, that's why!" and threatens to kick him out of the team if he isn't on the ice in five minutes. Dean quits.
- The Benchwarmer: Dean spends several games benched because Chadwick is mad at him for dating his daughter, even though they haven't actually started dating yet.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Dean lists the fact that Jessie's father disapproves of him as one of the reasons she should go out with him.
- Down to the Last Play: Dean beats the Bombers in a penalty shot with only three seconds left.
- Faceplanting into Food: At a free skating event, Dean and Jessie get the guard to chase them. They lead him towards a table with food set up in the middle of the rink, then swerve at the last second, causing the guard to crash face-first into the cake.
- False Teeth Tomfoolery: One team member has to wear dentures because so many of his teeth have been knocked out during games. As a prank, he puts his dentures in a girl's drink at the bar. When she sees them, she screams. He pretends to be surprised. Later, they get knocked out during a game, and members of the opposing team kick them away with their skates.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Dean's father wants him to stay and work on the farm. His older brother Kelly (Jim Youngs) persuades him to let Dean go by saying he'll do Dean's work for him.
- Food Slap: Fans of the Thunder Bay Bombers pelt the Mustangs with popcorn and drinks.
- Missing Mom: Dean and Kelly's mom left four years ago. Dean thinks it was because she was sick of farm life, just like he is. He and Kelly got over it, but their dad never did.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: Dean gets stuck outside the locker room wearing only a jockstrap, leading to a Naked First Impression with Jessie.
- Opposing Sports Team: The Thunder Bay Bombers have a highly aggressive playing style. Carl Racki (George Finn), who tried out for the Mustangs and punched Dean before joining the Bombers, is particularly violent, even attacking Sutton and damaging his skull so badly he needs a metal plate put in.
- Punch a Wall: Kelly punches a wall after Dean comes home.
- Their First Time: Dean and Jessie have sex in Dean's room, after moving the mattress to the floor so the springs won't creak.
- Training Montage: After Dean temporarily quits the Mustangs, Kelly puts Dean through a series of fighting lessons so he won't get beaten up so easily.
- Waving Signs Around: Fans of the Bombers wave signs that say things like "Pussies on Ice" and "Sutton Is A Fag!" They show their support for the Bombers with "Thunder Bay All the Way" signs.