Everything to Know About 'Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots'

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Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots is a blast from the past for sports fans.

The documentary takes an inside look at the professional roller hockey league – which was created in the late ’90s in Southern California – and the impact it had on players and fans who had limited access to resources like an ice rink, equipment and more.

“Hockey often gets pegged as such a regional sport,” director Jake Cimperman exclusively told Us Weekly at the film’s VIP screening in Huntington Beach, California, on Friday, June 21. “It’s cost-prohibitive for families. It’s tough to find ice. But starting in the 1990s, roller hockey has provided opportunities in non-traditional markets, and I wanted to share that story to a larger audience. If the film puts a few more kids on wheels or ice, then that’s an accomplishment.”

In addition to the impact roller hockey had on communities nationwide, the film also showcases the larger-than-life personalities that brought PBH into the spotlight, and why the professional league was able to captivate their audience as much as it did.

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“Each team was sponsored by a local bar,” Cimperman explained. “As a result, the booze was free for players all weekend long. This led to lots of players missing their games and rosters being reconfigured at the last minute. Despite playing on national TV — there were plenty of shenanigans going on.”

Keep reading for everything to know about Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots.

What Is ‘Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots’ About?

Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots follows the rise and fall of professional roller hockey league, Pro Beach Hockey, in Southern California. The league existed for three seasons from 1998 to 2000 and saw thousands of fans gathering in Huntington Beach for the shenanigan-filled games.

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“Sourcing all the archival footage and photography was extremely challenging,” Cimperman told Us about the four-year process of putting the documentary together. “Since the film takes place in the ’90s, most of these assets never made it to the internet. We had to track down the hard copies from strangers all over the country and digitize everything.”

Who Is in the ‘Pro Beach Hockey’ Documentary?

Former PBH players Chris Nelson and Mike Butters star in the documentary, along with former NHL star and Stanley Cup champion Luc Robitaille – who is widely considered a pioneer of roller hockey in the early ’90s.

Los Angeles Lakers owner and president Jeanie Buss also appears in the documentary and serves as executive producer. Buss was the owner of the Los Angeles Blades, a pro roller hockey team in the Roller Hockey International (RHI) league from 1993 to 1997, before bringing her sports expertise over to PBH.

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David McLane, who created GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), the World Roller Hockey League and Pro Beach Hockey, is also prominently featured in the film.

The documentary is directed by Cimperman and produced by pro players Max McCormick and Chris Driedger.

“Meeting all the characters involved in the ’90s roller hockey scene was probably the best part [of making this film],” Cimperman, a lifelong hockey fan and player, told Us. “They had so many outrageous stories to share, and it was clearly such a memorable part of their lives.”

He added, “And of course, getting to work with Jeanie Buss has been one of the greatest honors of my career.”

What Is the Difference Between Roller Hockey and Pro Beach Hockey?

There are a few differences between standard roller hockey and Pro Beach Hockey. One of the main differences is that PBH was played with a ball as opposed to a puck. Additionally, there was an X Games-style ramp behind each net, which made for an unpredictable but exciting addition to the way the game was played. There was also a two-point line, much like a three-point line in basketball.

PBH was also played on an outdoor court next to the ocean, which posed a plethora of challenges for the players. Hot weather, wind, moisture and sand were just some of the obstacles players had to face.

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Despite the challenges, people from all over Southern California flocked to Huntington Beach on the weekends to take in the games. (Multiple games were played each day, and later aired on ESPN2.) There was also entertainment, including performances from cheerleaders and dancers, live music and more.

Will Pro Beach Hockey Come Back to California?

Though there are no official plans for PBH to make a comeback just yet, Cimperman told Us that a “growing demand for a PBH reboot amongst nostalgic sports fans” might be the push the league needs to exist in today’s world.

“I think the outrageous personalities would play perfectly on today’s social media channels,” he explained before laying out his vision. “I’m obviously biased, but I think it could work as a weekend event or annual tournament. If we built a festival atmosphere with music, food, and sponsors, then it would attract tons of non-hockey fans.”

When Will ‘Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots’ Be Released?

Cimperman told Us that hockey fans can expect the documentary to be released by fall of 2024.

Where to Watch ‘Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots’

Pro Beach Hockey: Sun, Surf and Slapshots will be available for streaming upon its release.

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