Hands up who remembers a show called MVP? The full title was MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives. Not many of you? Well, it was on CBC back in 2008. It lasted one season of 10 episodes. Pity about that. It was emphatically about hockey, but not about the glory and goonery on the ice. It was about what happens in the bedrooms, bars and boardrooms. The deliciously fun part. The show did well on the Soapnet channel in the United States, got some very good reviews and, since then, there hasn’t really been a strong series about hockey.
Shoresy (streams on Crave from Friday) sets out to fill the gap, thank heavens. It does, and it is diabolically funny. At last then, a real hockey show about real hockey, and arriving during the NHL playoffs when it seems there’s nothing but hockey on broadcast and cable TV.
This spinoff from Letterkenny has the famously foul-mouthed, chirping Shoresy (Jared Keeso), who claims intimacy with the mothers of all his teammates, join a senior Triple A hockey team in Sudbury, Ont. He’s on a mission to save the team and never lose again. It is bonkers, but a beautiful thing, this series. In the United States, Letterkenny is a hit on Hulu, which describes the spinoff with this summary: “Shot on location in Sudbury, the hockey comedy series Shoresy features bench boss Jared Keeso in the titular role, alongside a cast of certified beauticians and absolute legends – from sci-fi stars to real-life big hitters.”
The refence to “a cast of certified beauticians” only clicks if you’re part of the Letterkenny cult, and there might be newcomers to the cult thanks to Shoresy’s entirely hockey-centric comedy. The series (six half-hour episodes, two arriving weekly) opens with a declaration, from people who would know that this Shoresy guy is the dirtiest player in hockey, ever.
From there, the dynamic is revealed. Shoresy the guy has a few things to say about the terrible team he’s playing for, the Sudbury Bulldogs. None of it can be printed in a newspaper. But the upshot is that our hero promises the team owner, Nat (Tasya Teles), that he can rebuild the team by bringing in a few good, veteran players.
With his teammate Sanguinet (Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat), he lays out the plan to the derision of Nat’s sidekicks, Ziigwan (Blair Lamora) and Miigwan (Keilani Rose). These two young women can chirp insults with sublime skill. Again, most of it can’t be quoted, but you will learn that the term “tough Native” is a redundancy. There is a lot of fighting on-ice and off, and it is emphasized that Sudbury has an abundance of very beautiful women.
Anyway, the new players arrive. Shoresy is shocked that they don’t call their parents as soon as the plane lands. Who does that? One of the guys, JJ Frankie JJ (Max Bouffard), is from Quebec and is notorious for having dated several Quebecois starlets. Another is from Mount Pearl, N.L., and likes his martinis. His name is Ted Hitchcock (played by Terry Ryan), which is the source of many unprintable jokes.
Shoresy tries to beef up the team further with some guys who work at a local jail. There are three of them and they’re named Jim, Jim and Jim. How to distinguish among the three Jims when calling on one of them to take the ice? Well, you could try singing “Jim” in different ways, it is suggested.
By now, you might be getting the picture. In the spirit of Letterkenny, the humour is funny, mad, droll, childish and spiky. Full of salty Canadian vernacular, it soars. There are more visual jokes than you might find in the average episode of Letterkenny, but the flavour is the familiar tone of boldly irreverent, and it is sometimes slashing satire with more puns than you can count. In an expected but delightful way, Shoresy is Letterkenny refreshed. Who knew that a series which opened some years ago with the line, “A coupla hockey players came up to the produce stand last week,” could eventually unleash this great spinoff.
Shoresy (Jared Keeso is executive producer, writer, star and creator and Jacob Tierney is executive producer and director) simultaneously mocks and adores everything about hockey. It takes a wonderfully wacky approach to the game that overwhelms us at this time every year.
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