Originally published February 25, 2019 at 6:00 am
Legendary NHL goalie Terry Sawchuk and his struggles with depression are featured in a new “Goalie” movie biopic premiering March 1 in Vancouver, B.C. and Toronto. Sawchuk long ago already participated in one big “Opening Night” in Seattle and had additional connections to this city.Geoff Baker
Inside the NHL
Legendary former NHL goalie Terry Sawchuk at least played one “Opening Night’’ in Seattle, even if a new movie biopic about him won’t initially be screened here.
A netminder many consider the greatest ever was in goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept. 30, 1964, when they staged the first sporting event at what’s now KeyArena with an exhibition game against the minor professional Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League. More than 8,600 fans, including tuxedoed socialite patrons looking dressed more for opera than hockey, flocked to the Seattle Coliseum to watch Sawchuk’s defending Stanley Cup champion Leafs dismantle the Totems 7-1.
So, it’s hardly a surprise NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke said his group is looking into possibly helping bring the film here. Titled “Goalie,’’ the movie stars Mark O’Brien as the Winnipeg-born Hall of Famer, while Kevin Pollak of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’’ plays Red Wings general manager Jack Adams and O’Brien’s real-life wife, Georgina Reilly of “Murdoch Mysteries,’’ plays Sawchuk’s wife, Pat.
For now, the movie’s producer, Blue Ice Pictures, is launching it Friday in Vancouver, B.C., and Toronto but plans other Canadian and U.S. showings later this spring. Given Sawchuk’s history in jump-starting KeyArena, it makes sense Leiweke’s group would want the movie shown here ahead of the venue being reopened for the NHL franchise they plan to debut there in October 2021.
That 1964 KeyArena opener wasn’t the only piece of Seattle history attached to Sawchuk, a man whose career was as haunting as it was brilliant. If previews for the movie are any indication, it should delve well beyond his statistical accomplishments: four Stanley Cup titles, four Vezina Trophies as the NHL’s top netminder, a Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and a then-record 103 shutouts in a 21-season Hall of Fame career with Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers.