Slap Shot's Charlestown Chiefs

The Real Team Behind Slap Shot's Charlestown Chiefs

July 17, 2023

Are you a fan of the classic hockey movie "Slap Shot"? If so, then you should know all about the infamous Charlestown Chiefs. These guys made an entire generation fall in love with their scrappy attitude and their unforgettable methods on the ice. But did you know that a real-life team inspired the Chiefs called the Johnstown Jets?

That's right, folks! The Jets were a minor league team that played in the same town where "Slap Shot" was filmed. Without them, we might never have seen the Chiefs in action, and the world would be a sadder place.

Let's dive into the world of hockey and take a look at the story of the team that inspired one of the most iconic teams in movie history - the Johnstown Jets.

The Johnstown Jets: A Brief History

Johnstown Jets T-Shirt

When it comes to minor league hockey teams, the Johnstown Jets are a name that definitely stands out. 

The Jets were founded in 1950 and are based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. They played in various minor leagues, including the Eastern Hockey League and the North Eastern Hockey League. They even had a stint in the newly-formed World Hockey Association before eventually disbanding in 1977.

But what made the Jets stand out was their playing style. They were known for being tough and physical on the ice, often taking penalties and getting into fights. This reputation earned them the nickname "Slap Shot Jets," named after the classic hockey movie "Slap Shot," which was loosely based on their team.

But it wasn't just their physicality that made the Jets unique. They were also a successful team, winning multiple championships over the years. All this success and toughness made the Jets a beloved team by their fans. They were known for having a rowdy and enthusiastic crowd, with fans banging drums and chanting throughout the games.

Unfortunately, the Jets' success and reputation for being a tough team on the ice eventually led to their downfall. As hockey evolved, fights became less common, and the league began to crack down on violent play. This left the Jets struggling to find their place in the changing hockey landscape.

But even though the Jets are no longer around, their legacy lives on. They were a fearless and entertaining team that captured the hearts of their fans and left a lasting impact on the world of hockey. We may never see another team quite like the Johnstown Jets, but they will always be remembered as one of the most unique and beloved minor league hockey teams ever.

The Making of Slap Shot

Charlestown Chiefs

Now, let's take a deep dive into the making of one of the most beloved sports movies of all time. We're talking about Slap Shot, the raucous 1977 flick that captured the hearts of hockey fans (and movie buffs in general) everywhere.

Slap Shot was directed by George Roy Hill, who you may remember from other classics such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. Hill had a vision for the film from the get-go: He wanted to make a movie that captured the rough-and-tumble world of minor league hockey, complete with foul language, brutal on-ice battles, and a healthy dose of goofiness.

To achieve this vision, Hill turned to the Johnstown Jets, a real-life minor league hockey team that played in Pennsylvania in the 1970s. Hill attended a game in person and was immediately struck by the team's rowdy, blue-collar fanbase and the players' unapologetic aggression on the ice. He knew he had found the perfect inspiration for Slap Shot.

With the help of screenwriter Nancy Dowd, who based some of the film's characters on her experiences playing amateur hockey, Hill set about crafting a story that would capture the essence of the Jets' world. The movie tells the story of the fictional Charlestown Chiefs, a struggling minor league team that decides to embrace a more violent, aggressive style of play in order to draw fans and win games. Needless to say, chaos ensues.

One of the things that makes Slap Shot so enduringly popular is its refusal to take itself too seriously. Yes, there are dramatic moments and some legitimate sports action, but the movie is also loaded with goofy sight gags (see: the Hanson brothers' absurd glasses) and foul-mouthed dialogue. It's a balancing act that could have easily tipped into absurdity, but Hill and Dowd threaded the needle perfectly.

The movie features excellent comic performances, particularly from Jack Hanson, Steve Carlson, and Reggie Dunlop, who portray the thuggish style of ice hockey with their hard-charging play. The film is funny throughout, with the finals roster scene on the rink and Ned Braden having one memorable scene with Ross "Mad Dog" Madison. And, of course, who could forget the iconic Hanson brothers and their slap-shot prowess?

The movie was a modest success upon its release, but it found its audience when it hit cable TV in the early 80s. There's something intrinsically watchable about Slap Shot, whether you're a hockey fan or not. It's a movie that's simultaneously an underdog story, a comedy, a sports flick, and a slice of Americana.

When Hill passed away in 2002, many hockey fans mourned him as the man who helped bring their sport to a broader audience. And while Slap Shot may be over 45 years old, its impact can still be felt today. When you're watching a hockey game and a fight breaks out, a penalty box door slams shut, or a ref gets insulted, you can bet that someone is thinking of Slap Shot somewhere. And that's a pretty impressive legacy.

The Real Coaches and Enforcers Behind Slap Shot's Charlestown Chiefs

Charlestown Chiefs

Let's talk about Reggie Dunlop, the main character in the classic movie Slap Shot. Now, if you're a die-hard hockey fan, Dunlop's character was inspired by a real coach - John Brophy. Brophy was a legendary coach in the minor leagues, and he had a massive impact on the development of Dunlop's character.

Brophy coached a bunch of teams throughout his career, and he was known for being tough but fair. He wasn't afraid to discipline players who weren't putting in the effort, but he quickly praised those who gave it their all. His coaching style and personality inspired the character of Dunlop, who was similarly tough on his players but had a soft spot for those who worked hard.

Now, let's talk about Oggie Oglethorpe - the infamous enforcer in Slap Shot who played left wing for the Syracuse Bulldogs and was played by Ned Dowd. But did you know that his character was based on a natural person? That's right - Goldie Goldthorpe was a notorious tough guy in the minor leagues, and his reputation made him the perfect inspiration for the character of Oglethorpe.

Goldthorpe was known for being a loose cannon on the ice. He wasn't afraid to throw down on anyone who crossed him, and he took pride in being one of the toughest players in the league. His reputation as a hard-nosed enforcer inspired the look and attitude of Oglethorpe, who quickly became one of the most iconic characters in the movie.

Get Your Game On with Allegiant Goods Co.'s Johnstown Jets Hockey Shirt

Johnstown Jets T-Shirt

If you're a fan of the classic movie "Slap Shot" and the legendary Johnstown Jets hockey team, then you're going to love the Johnstown Jets Hockey Shirt from Allegiant Goods Co. We've released a fantastic t-shirt that pays tribute to the Jets and their iconic logo.

Let's talk about the design first. The t-shirt features a bold blue and white color scheme that pops. The Johnstown Jets logo is prominently displayed in the center of the shirt, with the team's name arching above it. It's a simple but striking design that will turn heads.

It's a high-quality shirt that is both comfortable and stylish and pays tribute to a legendary hockey team. So add it to your cart and order yours today!

And while you're here, make sure to check out our other sports apparel offerings. We've got a ton of cool stuff that any sports fan will love, from hats to hoodies to even more t-shirts. Start shopping now, and get ready to show your love for your favorite team!


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