Paul Newman in 'Slap Shot' (1977)In the immortal words of Reggie Dunlop: "What a friggin' nightmare." Paul Newman played the aging hockey player / coach in George Roy Hill's raucous, very funny Slap Shot in 1977. When the local mill closes, economic conditions and poor attendance threaten the survival of the minor league Charlestown Chiefs, so Dunlop plants a rumor that the team will be bought and moved to Florida. Revitalized by the rumor and the arrival of the rock 'em / sock 'em Hanson Brothers, the team goes on a winning tear. The Chiefs were inspired by the Johnstown (Pa.) Jets, a real life minor league hockey team that folded, ironically, after a flood damaged their equipment in the same year the movie was released.

And now it's happening again,as reported by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Johnstown Chiefs, named after the team in Slap Shot, began play in 1988, but will be moving to Greenville, South Carolina, after the final game of the season on Saturday. They were a victim of declining economic conditions, poor play, and insufficient attendance. The top ticket price of $14.50 was "out of reach for many." Season ticket holders are devastated but understanding. One said: "Times are tough in Johnstown just like they are in a lot of places. This is just one more thing we've lost." Another confessed: "I'll probably just sit at home and cry."

A movie remake of Slap Shot is in development, though as my colleague Elisabeth Rappe ranted: "There's no good reason to remake it -- I don't give a crap about 'introducing' it to younger generations." Sadly, it looks like a real life remake has already been made in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
categories Movies, Cinematical