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Trivia / Slap Shot

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  • Cast the Expert:
    • Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean had grown up playing hockey, and Allan Nicholls' grandfather was a Hall of Fame goalie from the pre-NHL era. Nearly every other player was a Real Life professional hockey player, either active in the minors or retired at the time of filming.
    • The Chiefs' bus driver was played by Cliff Thompson. Thompson was the bus driver for the Johnstown Jets, the real hockey team that the Chiefs are based on.
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  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Much of the Hanson brothers' on screen antics were unscripted and improvised on the set. For example the toys in the hotel room were the Carlson brothers' own.
  • Life Imitates Art / Defictionalization: The fictional Chiefs were based on the Real Life Johnstown Jets EHL hockey team that operated from 1950-1977. The production went as far as to film much of the movie in Johnstown, including the War Memorial arena, which was used by the Jets. Later when the city got a new ECHL minor league franchise it was named the Johnstown Chiefs in honor of the team from the movie. The new Chiefs, which operated until 2010, played their games in the same area as both the older Jets and the fictional Chiefs.
    • The Hanson Brothers were based on Real Life Johntown Jets players, Jack, Steve and Jeff Carlson, who were also cast as themselves, although later Jack Carlson had to step out when called up by the Edmonton Oilers. He was in turn replaced by another hockey player by the name of Dave Hanson.
      • If that's not enough, while the film's 'Hanson Brothers' were based on the real Carlson Brothers, the character of "Killer Carlson" is based on Dave Hanson, whose real hockey nickname was "Killer" Hanson. Thus, Dave Hanson filled in for Jack Carlson as one of the fictional Hanson Brothers - while another actor played a character modeled after Dave Hanson. Jack Carlson, the man Dave "played" in the movie, was also very well known throughout his career as an enforcer, and did eventually pick up the real hockey nickname "Killer" Carlson.
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  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Paul Newman had stated on many occasions that he had more fun making this film than on any other film he has starred in, and that it remained his favorite of his own films, until his death.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: Nancy Dowd originally intended the film to be a documentary. George Roy Hill convinced her that it would be better served as a feature-length comedy.
  • Real-Life Relative: Paul Newman's daughter Susan Kendall Newman appears briefly as a drug store clerk and is later seen in the stands at one of the games.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The fashions, hairstyles, and music are so seventies it's painful. Plus the background story is the the closing of a steel mill and the crushing blow to the local economy. A very serious issue throughout the rust belt in the seventies. To boot there's a very memorable scene about women's sexual liberation!
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Al Pacino showed interest in the lead role but fell out with George Roy Hill after he was asked if he could ice skate (Pacino considered the question "facetious"). Pacino later expressed regret that he had missed out on the film.
    • Nick Nolte lobbied hard for the part of Ned Braden, but there was no time for him to learn how to skate.

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