While Vancouver fans have quickly grown to love new Vancouver Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau for his role in kick-starting the team, many probably do not know about his role in one of the most iconic sports movies ever.
The movie: The hockey comedy classic from 1977 Loose shot, starring Paul Newman as a player-coach for a struggling hockey team in a dying factory town.
The film was shot in Johnstown, Penn., In 1976, where Boudreau was playing for the now defunct North American Hockey League Johnstown Jets at the time.
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The timing gave Boudreau, along with several other Jets, a shot at some Hollywood screen time.
“It was not a cameo, it was a lead role,” Boudreau said over a recently available medium.
“It was a great experience. Who would have thought in 1976, when we made the film, that it would become the iconic classic as it is today. I was just so lucky to play on the Johnstown Jets.”
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While Boudreau had no lines in the film, some of his teammates had on the Jets. The legendary (and legendary violent) ‘Hanson Brothers’ who appear in the film were played by real Jets Dave Hanson and Steve and Jeff Carlson.
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Boudreau’s involvement in the film did not stop at his appearances on the ice.
His apartment in Johnstown was used as Newman’s home when director George Roy Hill found it to be the most cluttered of his teammates.
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“(He) came into the locker room and said, ‘Who has the sloppiest, cluttered apartment on the team?’ And everyone got up and pointed at me, ”Boudreau said.
“So I was lucky enough to get the recipient of Paul Newman and the dog to sleep on my bed.”
Boudreau also managed to meet the film’s star in what was perhaps his first attempt at coaching when asked to teach Newman how to make a slap shot.
“Honestly, he wanted me to just show him how to shoot,” Boudreau said.
“I went into a 10-minute diet on how to do something. He said, ‘OK, that’s probably kid.’ It brings back fond memories.”
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