Monday, September 12, 2016
Hockey Enforcers Hit The Big Screen:
Hockey enforcers hit the big screen
by Carli Berry - Vernon Morning Star
Sep 11, 2016
On the ice, the hockey enforcer is a guardian with raised fists, protecting teammates, settling disputes and possibly defusing the tension.
Off the ice, there’s another story.
The documentary Ice Guardians, directed by Brett Harvey and edited by Stephen Green, tackles the tough-guy stereotype of the enforcer and adds a behind-the-scenes perspective of its role in the NHL.
“We’re here to honour the story of the enforcer and its place in hockey history. It’s more about telling a great story,” said producer Adam Scorgie.
The film took eight years to make and stars legends like: Dave Semenko, Clark Gillies, Nick Fotiu, Dave Brown, Gino Odjick, Zenon Konopka, Kelly Chase, Scott Parker, Todd Fedoruk, Riley Cote, Derek Boogaard, Mitch Fritz, Sasha Lakovic and features Vernon’s own Eric Godard. Godard was an Assistant Coach with the Vernon Vipers (2014-15).
“It’s a misunderstood role,” said Godard.
He’s excited to see the movie and what people will take from it.
“There’s different colours, it’s not just black and white.”
The 6-foot-4, 227 pounder has a record of 81 fights in two seasons with the Major Junior Lethbridge Hurricanes, and 111 in the AHL with Louisville Panthers, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Omaha Ak-Sar Knights, and 119 in the NHL.
“My wife had a hard time believing this guy is one of the toughest guys in the NHL,” said Scorgie.
Godard speaks softly and directly, not what one would expect from a retired NHL player who broke Steve MacIntyre’s (Edmonton Oilers) orbital bone in 2008, during one of his three seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, before retiring in 2012.
“If you meet him now, he’s wearing glasses and has a little boy, Otto,” said Scorgie.
He also wasn’t a scrapper in his youth.
“I didn’t really like fighting,” said Godard.
“Ninety per cent of enforcers haven’t been in a street fight,” said Scorgie.
Fighting in the NHL was done for the competitive edge.
“It’s to change the momentum of the game. It almost calms things down in a sense,” said Godard.
The 36-year-old compared the role to cheerleading.
“It’s making sure the other guys are working hard.”
He doesn’t regret any moment of playing the role in the NHL.
“Growing up I wanted to score like Wayne Gretzky, but with opportunity, you find a way to live the dream.”
Godard was Scorgie’s first interview, which helped connect him with other NHL players as he faced difficulties getting enforcers to speak.
“A lot of guys get shit on by the media. They’re (sometimes) made to look dumb,” said Scorgie.
“Godard was a huge help. Lots of people respected him and I was able to get contacts. He’s shy on camera, but... he shared the truth.”
Now, Godard spends his time in Vernon as a drywaller for Homestead Drywall Ltd. and lives with his wife, Myrika, and son, Otto.
“We’re dear friends, I’ve been to his wedding and he’s been to mine. Our wives love each other,” said Scorgie.
Scorgie’s fascination with the enforcer’s dynamics led to the creation Ice Guardians.
He attended high school with retired NHL players Parker and Fedoruk, who played in WHL for the Kelowna Rockets and calls Kelowna his hometown.
Knowing them allowed Scorgie to develop a different perspective.
“The media’s painted them with a certain type of brush,” he said. He wanted to go deeper into the story.
“They’re sacrificing their bodies for the NHL. It’s a controversial subject.”
He was amazed by the feedback and anticipation he received from the trailer.
In five days, the trailer had more than 70,000 hits on YouTube and more than 1.7 million views overall.
“I’m a nobody who made a documentary,” he laughed.
“I had (Canuck right winger) Derek Dorsett say ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, it hit so close to home for me.’”
The world premiere is Monday in Toronto and Godard is attending.
The film will also be shown in Kelowna, at the Grand 10 Theatre, Sept. 29 and will feature a Q&A afterwards with Godard, Fedoruk, Parker, Glen Cochrane and Fritz.
Tickets can be purchased for $25, and VIP tickets are $45 from landmarkcinemas.com/kelowna-grand-10.