A closer look at hockey’s tough guys

Kelowna hockey fans have had no shortage of tough guys to cheer for over the years.

Kelowna filmmaker Adam Scorgie (right) poses with last year’s NHL fights leader Zenon Konopka. Scorgie will pitch a documentary featuring NHL tough guys to the NHL this month.

Kelowna hockey fans have had no shortage of tough guys to cheer for over the years.

Kelowna’s Glen Cochrane is a legendary scrapper, while Rockets alumni Scott Parker had close to 300 penalty minutes twice with Kelowna before plying his trade in the NHL.

Now a Kelowna filmmaker is hoping to delve deeper into the world of hockey tough guys with a planned documentary called Ice Guardians.

Adam Scorgie, who made a name for himself with the marijuana-documentary The Union, The Business Behind Getting High, will present his idea to the NHL at the league’s Heritage Classic Feb. 20 in Calgary.

“We think everyone has missed the story of these guys who will do anything to make the NHL,” said Scorgie, a KLO graduate who went to school with tough Kelowna Rockets players like Mitch Fritz and Kris Mallette.

“These tough guys work so hard. They all started playing hockey at a young age and wanted to be Bobby Orr or Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. But at some point they knew (fighting) was their only shot to make it.”

Scorgie has a fight of his own to win to get his film from where it is today to a feature length documentary.

In order to properly document the lives of current and former tough guys, he needs the NHL to release footage of the players in action.

So at the Heritage Classic he will meet first with former player Brendan Shanahan and then with the “suits” who run the NHL, asking the league to release the fight footage, a move that Scorgie says rarely happens.

“We need the NHL to release the footage but they don’t want that image going out there,” said Scorgie.

“We want to show them that we aren’t here to glorify fighting. Most of it would be about real life stories of what these guys go through fighting, dealing with the media and the fans, going home to their kids with the broken hands and the missing teeth.”

Scorgie has produced a seven minute sample of what his documentary will look like as well as a 20 minute package of interviews he’s conducted with former and current NHL tough guys. He’s interviewed a who’s who of tough guys like Dave Semenko, Clark Gillies, Nick Fotiu, Dave Brown, Gino Odjick, Derek Boogaard, last year’s NHL fights leader Zenon Konopka as well as star Jarome Iginla, to get his take on fighting in the game.

“After our interviews we asked them if they had ever seen a film about their role in the game,” said Scorgie.

“They all said no and that they would like to see that.”

Still Scorgie knows he has a big wall to breakdown if he is to get NHL approval. The league keeps a tight grasp on the rights to film as it protects its image.

Getting them to release fight footage is probably the hardest hill to climb.

“It’s a huge mountain because it’s tough to try and sell them a vision of the film,” he said. “It’s the biggest wall ever but I’m very confident because no one has taken this approach and this effort. All these guys are the nicest guys. They treated me and our crew with the utmost respect. They showed so much belief in me that I have to do the movie. They did everything they can to make the NHL and I am going to do everything I can to make this movie.”


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