There’s an old saying that suggests “success breeds success” and if that is indeed the case, then the Bentley Generals are certainly on the right track.
Prior to their 2008-09 championship when the Generals captured the Allan Cup as the best senior hockey team in the land, a film crew began following the team and individual players throughout the year with the result being the feature movie Blood, Sweat and Beers.
“The process was pretty unbelievable but I’ll be honest with you, the director did not want us to see any of it until it premieres to the public. It’s a pretty big surprise,” said Chad Beagle, who recently returned to the lineup following a knee injury that cut his championship season short.
“There were actually three players who were keyed-in on in the film including myself, my brother Kent and Scott Hood. They kind of went in different directions with all three of us. The crew spent a lot of time with us, including out in the field with the cows, with my kids, at home on the farm and the whole ‘life away from the rink’ and also at the rink.”
All in all, Beagle found the entire process interesting despite the fact the flick was originally scheduled to be filmed two years ago however due to financial problems in the industry, the project was put on hold.
Luckily, Eppo Eerkes, the film’s director, kept plugging away at the idea and even went so far as to shoot a number of pilots before receiving funding and a final go-ahead, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
“It worked out perfectly with us winning the national championship. I saw the script at one time, but it was pretty vague with little blurbs on each player,” Beagle said, adding that the title of the film gives a fitting description of life as a senior hockey player.
“I think it’s perfect. It fits our senior hockey lifestyle pretty good,” he said. “We put a lot of commitment into it but there’s also always a lot of time to have a beer after practice and after games. There’s definitely a lot of blood, a lot of sweat and plenty of beers.”
And while he was with the team at every step along the way to the championship, Beagle was assigned to the position of assistant coach during the run due to his injured knee and as a result, ended up being verbally taped as part of the production.
Given the fact that the language used during competitive hockey games, especially involving grown men, can get pretty course, Beagle has been trying hard to remember exactly what he said during the tournament, which was held in April in Steinbach, Man.
“Another thing that I never realized was how easy it is to forget when you have a microphone on. Because of my injury, I couldn’t play in the final game last year, so they slipped the microphone on me for the entire game and you absolutely forget about it,” he said. “So when the game ended, they came back and said they’d grab the microphone back, and then it hits you and I’ve been wondering ever since what I said on the it.”
In addition to directing Blood, Sweat and Beers, Eerkes, who also writes, produces and is married to a girl from Bentley, has also been involved with a number of television shows including four episodes of At the End of My Leash, Stepping in It, Dog-Eat-Mom World, New Leash on Life and Three’s Company, 4’s a Crowd.
For those who may have missed the premiere of Blood, Sweat and Beers, held Nov. 28 at the Red Deer Memorial Centre, a trailer from a previous shoot is available for public viewing online at You Tube using the keywords Bentley Generals.
Included in the bit is some pre-game inspiration from head coach Brian Sutter and unlike the real thing, the video has bleeped out any and all profane language and is suitable for all audiences.