Greenwich Entertainment, a leading distributor of independent films, has acquired North American distribution rights to the critically-acclaimed documentary feature Hockeyland about rival high school hockey teams in Minnesota’s North Country. The area is one of the breeding grounds for hockey greats who go onto to collegiate and professional play, including the National Hockey League (NHL).
Hockeyland is directed and produced by Tommy Haines. Haines and former Eveleth star player Elliot Van Orsdel join SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the award-winning film that has played leading doc festivals like DOC NYC, Big Sky, Seattle, Milwaukee and RiverRun.
Haines, a director, cinematographer and editor at Northland Films, received praise from ESPN back in 2008, calling his feature Pond Hockey the best hockey hockey movie ever. Haines was excited to return to his Minnesota roots for this new project.
"I was raised in a neighboring town of where Elliot grew up, a little town called Mountain Iron, and actually Elliot's mom is from there originally, we are only a couple years apart. I've been wanting to do a high school hockey film for 15 years. I met Neil Broten, who is a former New Jersey Devil, won the Stanley Cup with them, and even after he had won a Cup and the Hobie Baker (Award) and won the Miracle on Ice (1980 Olympic Gold Medal), he still talked about those days playing for Roseau, Minnesota and losing in the state tournament and how much those games meant to him. That was something I wanted to capture, like what's that experience now and what are these boys going through now. I heard that Elliot's school Eveleth was going to be consolidating with a neighboring school Virginia, Minnesota so we wanted to have this storied program. They won five of the first seven state titles. A lot of Olympians came from that school so we wanted to make sure we got that final year."
Elliot Van Orsdel and his parents are featured in Hockeyland. As a junior and senior, Van Orsdel led the Eveleth Golden Bears in scoring and finished his high school career with 100 points. After high school, Elliot moved to St. Paul and was the captain of the Minnesota Mullets junior hockey team. This fall, Elliot will be playing D3 hockey for the University of Southern Maine.DETAILS HOW TO WATCH:Hockeyland – A hockey documentary • In Theaters September 9