Screen Capture: A scene from “Goalie”

Goalie, an exceptionally well-executed sports biographical film, focuses on NHL legend Terry Sawchuk. Sawchuk, born and raised in Winnipeg, was an exceptional ice hockey talent. The legendary ice hockey goaltender, with no fewer than 447 wins, was the all-time leader with 103 shutouts. He played in four of the Original Six NHL teams.

A life cut short at only 40 years old, resulting from a drunken fight, Sawchuk died at New York Hospital Manhattan on Sunday, 31 May 1970. Sawchuk’s last resting place can be found at Mount Hope Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan.

Whilst there have been numerous sports biographical films made in the past few decades, very few if any have deal directly with the kind of subject matter writer-director Adriana Maggs broaches with his production.

Image Credit: IMDb.com

With a screenplay co-written by Maggs and Jane Maggs, there is an undeniable authenticity to Goalie which many ice hockey fans will appreciate. Even if you aren’t someone familiar with Sawchuk’s professional career, there is an ineffable quality to the film that will draw you into his story.

The film opens with the Coroner (Sergio Di Zio) conducting the autopsy as his assistant types out the report. Interlaced between the Coroner’s scenes are visual references to each piece of scar tissue mentioned. Even though there are moments of celebration within Maggs’ film, one can’t help but see the production as being a tragedy. There is a rawness to the film which transcends the screen.

Goalie stars Mark O’Brien as Terry Sawchuk. The production hinges much on O’Brien’s performance of a man who never felt completely comfortable with his teammates. Sawchuk, always respectful towards coaches and managers, did everything he could to be the best.

Kevin Pollak steps into Jack Adams’ shoes for this production. Adams, the Detroit Red Wings general manager, is known to have pushed his players beyond their limits because winning was the only thing that mattered. Costing Sawchuk dearly, in both physical and psychological trauma, the goaltender suffered the consequences.

Georgina Reilly, O’Brien’s real-life wife, plays Pat Morey / Sawchuk. Sawchuk and Morey, after a brief relationship, were married on Thursday, 6 August 1953. During their marriage, one that struggled to endure increasing alcoholism and womanising, the couple had seven children. His marriage to Pat ended with divorce on Thursday, 6 August 1953. Sawchuk slowly lost everything.

Further to O’Brien, Reilly, and Pollak, the production also stars Éric BruneauSteve ByersTed AthertonJanine TheriaultOwen MaggsMatt Gordon, and Jonny Harris.

Goalie releases in movie theaters from Friday, 31 January 2020 and will then be available on DVD and digital on Tuesday, 25 February 2020.