Thursday, July 26, 2012 - Submitted by Erin Byrnes
If, as expected, the Melbourne Ice make a charge into this year’s AIHL finals series, three fans will have a bit more riding on the outcome than the average supporter.
Documentary makers Jason McFadyen, Shannon Swan and Angelo Pricolo have been following the team all season to put together The Melbourne Ice – The Road to Three-peat.
In the same vein of HBO’s stunning 24/7 series - an American reality TV series that follows sporting organizations weeks in the lead-up to their major sporting events, one of the most recent being “Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” – the Road to Three-peat is being produced by Two Taps Productions, the documentary arm of Resolution Media.
It delivers an unprecedented behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the club during the current season, as they strive for their third straight Goodall Cup.
Jason says the crew took inspiration from 24/7, which he calls the benchmark of sport documentaries.
“Initially it was all based around seeing what would happen and hoping the boys win the championship,” he says.
“Even as hockey fans, we didn’t realise how much drama can be going on behind closed doors and it’s all those moments that are a more reflective story of the season as opposed to the end result.
“We definitely want the boys to win the championship though – it won’t hurt the story.”
He says filming on the fly, with the story unfolding before their eyes, is both frustrating and freeing.
“When we’re right there, at the exact moment a player walks back into the locker after having a bad period and gives us the ‘get the hell out of this room’ stare, that’s fairly liberating... and frightening,” he jokes.
Having seen a cut of the first episode of the series, it’s definitely a fascinating insight into the club.
The first episode kicks off in the early hours of the first morning of team tryouts.
From there, we see the process of team selection, and are treated to a fly on the wall view of the brutal assessments and interviews the players are put through.
The filmmakers certainly haven’t pulled any punches.
We find out exactly what coach Paul Watson thinks of the players, and are witness to one of his famously tough workouts, complete with a few f-bombs.
We also see re-enactments of the recruiting process the Ice went through to get Doug Wilson Jnr on a plane, with footage filmed inside his US home.
The first episode ends on the eve of the season opener; episode two began pre-production earlier this month.
The crew is planning on putting together six 30 minute episodes, with the possibility of a 90 minute documentary edit, and is focusing on putting the series together before shipping it to Australian and international networks.
While in the US behind the scenes sports documentaries are done very well (see 24/7, Hard Knocks, The Franchise etc.), it’s something we’ve yet to see done in Australia, save for the one offs such as the Ben Cousins and Jim Stynes documentaries.
There’s definitely the market and the interest for a show like Road to Three-peat.
It’s not only the documentary makers that are crossing their fingers it gets picked up – all those involved in Australian hockey would greatly benefit from the coverage and promotion it would provide for the sport.
It isn’t enough to simply watch games anymore.
As fans, we crave more; more information, more insight and more intimacy with our team.
Road to Three-peatdelivers just that, and when it finds a platform, will be well worth a look for not just hockey fans, but fans of sport in general.