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ODD MAN RUSH: 3 STARS. “universal questions of dream fulfilment.”

Based on Bill Keenan’s bestselling hockey memoir of the same name, “Odd Man Rush,” available digitally and on demand, stars Jack Mulhern as a hockey player with NHL dreams who ends up in Sweden’s minor pro league.

Mulhern is Bobby Sanders, a hockey obsessed young man whose dreams of bigtime sports stardom are dashed by injury. Despite surgeries and being banged up, he plays in Europe on the periphery of pro hockey and is eventually traded to a team in Sweden. He’s living his dream but a relationship with Elin (Elektra Jannson Kilbey), a woman he meets at the local market. His love of the game never subsides but Elin and problems with an old injury make him re-evaluate his priorities and just who he would be without a stick in his hands and a puck to shoot at a net.

“Odd Man Rush” is an ode to everyone who has ever put on pads with dreams of NHL glory dancing about in their heads. Which is pretty much everyone who has ever played hockey. Sanders is the guy we don’t hear about very often, the grinder who wasn’t destined for greatness. That point of view differentiates “Odd Man Rush” from most other sports stories.

It’s a movie that loves the underdog and loves the game. Hockey kids like Trevor Gretzky and Alexa Lemieux, daughter of Mario Lemieux, make appearances alongside cameos by former NHL player and referee Paul Stewart and Edmonton Oilers associate coach Jim Playfair add authenticity to the storytelling.

Filmed in some of the same locations as 70’s sweary hockey-film “Slap Shot,” “Odd Man Rush” spends a great deal of time on the ice but like so many sports films it’s not actually about the game. It explores universal questions of dream fulfilment and how much of oneself you give to that dream, thoughts most of us have had whether we’ve ever played shinny or not.

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