Time for an NHL Dream Team

I’m very excited, because tonight is finally the premiere of the new season of Dream Team on Fox Soccer Channel. Okay, it’s not really a “new” season, it’s three years old (link contains SPOILERS). But it’s new to me, and that’s what counts.

For those unfamiliar with it, Dream Team was a British soap opera on the Sky Network, which ran for ten seasons, and concerned itself with fictional Premiership side Harchester United. Unlike say Footballers’ Wives, which was only tangentially ever about sports, DT contains quite a bit of the sport. Because Sky also owned the rights to the Premiership, they used real game footage, colorized and spliced to work in the fictional characters. Although it’s also very much a soap — if any real life team had so many deaths associated with it, its “curse” would be quite the talking point. It’s hardly serious television (well, okay, I cried when Jamie Parker died) but it’s fun. And despite having the blessing of the league, they haven’t seemed to hold back excessively on controversial topics — drugs, infidelity, accusations of rape, drinking, gambling, cheating, and more murders than you can shake a stick at have all gotten a run out.

Which has got me to thinking — why doesn’t the NHL give its blessing to a hockey version of DT? Assuming the league sticks with Vs., they’ve got a TV partner with room on their schedule and which has shown an openness to additional hockey related programming. Why not team up with them to do something that’s “outside the box” and might give the league some attention?

ESPN tried their own (gridiron) football drama a couple years back with Playmakers, but that got sunk by disapproval from the paranoid control freaks at the NFL. CTV did have the hockey series Power Play a few years ago, which had its moments of quirky entertainment, but which wasn’t NHL licensed and as such had to make do with ersatz uniforms and team names.

So this would be fairly uncharted territory for a North American pro sports league…which, when you’re number four (or five, or six, or twenty-seven, depending on who you ask) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Come on, NHL, take a risk…stop tampering with the game itself and give the world some silly, soapy entertainment with your imprimatur. Give us a hockey Dream Team!

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7 responses to “Time for an NHL Dream Team

  1. Lance et Compte?

    But I don’t think the NHL could wrap its head around DreamTeam because they’d constantly be trying to make sure it’s anodyne and non-controversial.

  2. How could I forget Lance et Compte?

    College roommates and I used to watch that and make up our own plots and dialogue because the rapidfire slangy Quebecois French tended to be impenetrable.

  3. Well the English version (He Shoots! He Scores!) was uber-lame and completely rejected because the dialogue was soooo bad and the dubbing worthy of a Japanese monster movie.

    But I wonder if your original premise would ever work: Canadians would presume it was cheesy local production and Americans wouldn’t find it glamorous enough, like say 2 brothers running a sugar and rum concern out of Miami. Alls I’m saying is Jimmy Smits can’t skate (that I know of)

  4. Yeah, but I’m talking Vs. here, not one of the major networks…of course, I suppose if they co-produced it with CTV or (shudder) Global, they could get funding, not to mention, CanCon. And once CTV had its hands on it….hello cheesy and local.

    Too bad ESPN is so downright hostile to hockey right now. From what I’ve heard, the Playmakers show was pretty good (I think I have the DVD set somewhere in the nether reaches of my Netflix queue). They could probably do a good job on something like this, but they wouldn’t touch something hockey related with a ten foot pole.

  5. Maybe something on dogfighting they’d show? Don’t get me going on ESPN’s attempt to define sports to the narrowest possible categories and demographics (anything a beer-soaked 21 year-old male might watch so ESPN can sell beer ads; only sports ex-jocks from NFLNBAMLB can understand – and nothing “furrin'” like hockey).

    Well if they partnered with CBC it would be the heart-warming tale of a First Nations kid as he combats prejudice and disadvantage to make it to the bigs through an Ontario junior team – or the first woman goalie to make it to the bigs (oops sorry forgot, they did both these – maybe a show about the quirkiness of a Muslim player from small town Saskatchewan trying to make it to the NHL; it could be a comedy showing how we’re all just liberals who find religious beliefs and religious controversy slightly bemusing because it’s all really the same really, and everything is non-threatening and anodyne, particularly the humour); hockey as only the Cabbagetown elites understand it. Oh, and they’d forget to show any hockey; I’d take a CTV production over that. Won’t watch Global, I have standards.

  6. Hee hee.

    One of my favorite plotlines on Power Play was when the Steelheads had to get government funding to keep going, and the feds put conditions on them that their roster had to be “regionally representative” of Canada, so they had to get rid of some of the players from Ontario and replace them with players from Newfoundland and NWT.

    Sheila Copps even had a guest appearance…

    I guess that was after CTV recognized they could never sell the show in the States anyway. 😉

  7. I remember that one. After my personal encounter with SC in the early1980s I remain quite vulnerable to any appearance in the media. I quite like Sheila, btw.

    But back to your basic premise – it could fly. If they(American cable channel, for e.g.) made a show that was centred loosely, but not exclusively, on the exploits of a semi-pro northern American hockey team in say northern Minnesota or the UP, or even Alaska, that played in a cross-border league; where the town is a border town. Hey, I’d watch that!

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