Top 5 little known casting facts for the original movie Slap Shot
1) Michael Ontkean, who played Ned Braden, the slick, college-educated top scorer for the Charleston Chiefs, was in fact a really good hockey player, having led U.S. universities in scoring for the U of New Hampshire one year and played at St. Mike’s in Toronto and Junior B and Junior A in Quebec and B.C.
2) The Oggie Oglethorpe character was inspired by Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe, a wild man from Hornepayne, Ont. who racked up fighting majors in the NAHL, AHL and the WHA in the 1970s. Goldthorpe ruined his chances of acting in the movie when one night in Johnstown he threw a bottle of pop in the dressing in anger and it narrowly missed Art Newman, Paul Newman’s brother who was visiting looking for extras for the movie. Goldthorpe was immediately ruled out of contention.
3) Actor Peter Strauss (Rich Man, Poor Man) auditioned for a role but his skating was poor and he finally eliminated himself by breaking his leg crashing into the boards during a race with Paul Newman.
4) Other actors who unsuccessfully vied for a spot in the cast included David Soul, John Travolta, Tommy Lee Jones, Kurt Russell, Donny Most, Robbie Benson, Harrison Ford, Paul Michael Glaser, Richard Gere and Tom Berenger.
5) Hockey pros Jack and Steve Carlson played two of the Hanson Brothers. The names of the four characters Jack, Steve and Jeff Hanson and Dave “Killer” Carlson were inspired by real ECHL players Jack, Steve and Jeff Carlson and Dave “Killer” Hanson; screenwriter Nancy Dowd merely transposed the names.
– From The Making of Slap Shot, Jonathon Jackson, John Wiley and Sons, 2011.