On Tuesday, Sept. 12 the Rec Room in South Common played host to a screening of the acclaimed documentary Ice Guardians. While the film paid tribute to many of hockey’s great enforcers, this event was held in honour of one particular player – the late Dave Semenko. As the film featured interviews from Semenko himself, producer Adam Scorgie believed that holding this screening was well deserved for the enforcer and his Edmonton fans. When asked about his inspiration for hosting the function, Scorgie stated: “I had just spent some quality time with Dave doing a screening in St. Louis and we flew home together [before his death].”
Originally, the producer had planned to donate the proceeds of the Edmonton event to the Oilers alumni but after Semenko’s passing, Scorgie aimed to donate it to his family. Later, the parties came to a consensus to award the proceeds to the Edmonton Inner City Kids program instead.
With both an excellent film and cause to support, hockey fans and film lovers alike showed up to celebrate Semenko’s career. Also in attendance was ex-Oiler Ron Low and current left winger Milan Lucic. Following the viewing, Low and Lucic were featured as guests for a Q&A session. Questions ranged from the specifics of the film to the players’ hockey careers to hot button issues in today’s NHL.
Representing Semenko’s family at the event was his son, Jason.
“I am so proud of my dad … And [we just have] a love for the city and how they treat him and respect him,” he said.
These were just a few of the comments Jason Semenko made about what the event meant to his family. Although he had already watched the film, Jason had nothing but positive remarks about Ice Guardians and the event. Similar to the film, Jason Semenko shared his belief that enforcers have not been fairly portrayed in the media.
“The media blows them out of proportion,” he said.
Moving forward, Jason hopes that this film can create a more positive view of hockey enforcers. He also “hopes to open up a lot of eyes and make them see what actually goes on and say ‘hey they got a point’.” The biggest component that Jason wished more people realized about Dave was how dedicated to the fans and how generous he was. Jason recalled when they would be out as a family and his father would always take time out to sign autographs and deal with fans.
Producer Scorgie also felt that the screening went exceptionally well.
“Semenko was what made me love the game,” he said. This statement by Scorgie was on full display on Tuesday as the film and viewing party paid great tribute to Semenko. The idea for this documentary was largely influenced by the passion and commitment that players like Semenko had for the game.
At one point, this event may have never happened because Semenko almost did not participate in the interviews to begin with.
“Dave had no regrets about his career,” Scorgie said. “The reason he was hesitant about doing interviews, like many other guys, was because the other times that they had gone to the media, the media had really ridiculed them and said that they ‘don’t belong and were dummies and were ruining the game’.”
Once the word had gotten out about how respectful and unbiased the interviewers were – Semenko agreed.
The consensus at the event was that everyone was extremely proud of the film and the way enforcers were portrayed. Keep your eyes out for Ice Guardians on iTunes, Amazon Video and Netflix in the near future.
– Jory Proft
– Photo by Tim Potter