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Risk and decision in Slap Shot

"Slap Shot" is a classic sports comedy film released in 1977, directed by George Roy Hill. The movie primarily focuses on the Charlestown Chiefs, a struggling minor league ice hockey team, and their unconventional journey to success. While the film is known for its humor and portrayal of the rough and aggressive nature of hockey, it also touches on various themes related to risk and decision-making. Here are some aspects of risk and decision in "Slap Shot":

  1. Financial Risk:

    • The Charlestown Chiefs face financial challenges, and the decision to resort to aggressive and violent playing style, known as "goon" hockey, is made to attract more fans and revenue. This decision is a risky strategy, as it may lead to penalties and suspensions, but the potential financial gain is deemed worth the risk.
  2. Team Strategy and Decision-Making:

    • The coach, Reggie Dunlop (played by Paul Newman), makes decisions on the team's playing style and strategies. The adoption of the aggressive playing style is a calculated decision to boost the team's performance and fan attendance. The risk involves potential consequences such as player injuries, penalties, and conflicts with other teams.
  3. Personal and Professional Risks for Players:

    • The players, particularly the Hanson brothers, face personal and professional risks as they embrace the violent style of play. Their decision to engage in on-ice brawls and provocative behavior puts their careers and personal safety on the line. The film explores the consequences of such decisions on their lives and the team dynamics.
  4. Moral and Ethical Dilemmas:

    • The decision to engage in aggressive and violent tactics raises moral and ethical questions. The characters grapple with the consequences of their choices, including the impact on the integrity of the sport and their own sense of morality. The film highlights the conflict between winning at all costs and maintaining sportsmanship.
  5. Ownership and Management Decisions:

    • The team's management, represented by Joe McGrath (played by Strother Martin), makes decisions about the team's direction. Their willingness to exploit the violent image for financial gain reflects the business-oriented approach to sports. This decision has both positive and negative consequences for the team and its members.

In summary, "Slap Shot" incorporates elements of risk and decision-making in various aspects of the story, ranging from financial considerations to personal and ethical dilemmas. The film explores how the characters navigate these decisions and the consequences that arise from their chosen paths.

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