Tim’s Take: Shoresy, the Modern-Day Slap Shot

I’m admittedly late to the Letterkenny party as for quite a while; it wasn’t available on any of the services that I had. Once I was finally able to watch, I clearly saw what all the hype was about. But as much as I enjoyed that series, I have enjoyed it’s spinoff series even more. If you are a hockey fan, hockey player, grew up around the rinks, or just like really well put together shows, you may want to give Shoresy a look.

As I said, I became a fan of Letterkenny a lot later than most. I have heard others talk about this show going all the way back to its debut in 2016 but never had a chance to catch an episode. Chalk it up to me being in the US without access, or the fact that watching a series normally feels tedious and time constraining on me, or just blame Canada in general.

But, regardless of when I found it, I’m very glad I did. I’ll admit that I have not yet finished all 12 seasons of the show, but I have watched about half of the episodes at this point and am committed to finishing it. But sometimes between the entertaining aspects of the series, I sometimes felt like I was witnessing an inside-joke that I knew nothing about or was being falsely coerced into feeling a certain kind of way that was outside the context of the intended result. I get none of those feelings from Shoresy.

To give some background for those that haven’t seen this show, Shoresy, played by Jared Keeso (who is also the shows’ creator, writer, and executive producer for all 12 episodes of the series so far), is a stereotypical “goon” of sorts. In the world of Letterkenny, he’s a background enigma that mysteriously never shows his face. Yet in this series, he’s front and center for all to see. Playing forward for the Sudbury Bulldogs (later renamed the Subury Blueberry Bulldogs), a fledgling team in the NOSHO (the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization), Shoresy’s reputation as a dirty player is almost as big as his no-holds-barred hockey vocabulary. The guy can out chirp a lonely cricket and he has no qualms about doing it to anyone: management, opponents, teammates, or even youth hockey players he occasionally referees.

For as edgy and brutal as his character is, he’s also vulnerable, superstitious, and quirky. His pre-game rituals, and seemingly meek, squeaky voice are enough comedic gold just by themselves.

Tasya Teles as Nat, the owner of the Sudbury Bulldogs [Photo Credit: Hulu]
The series opens after the team loses 5-0, adding to a 20 game losing streak, and everyone, including Shoresy, are completely beside themselves. One of the recurring themes to the entire series is that Shoresy would much rather play with guys that hate to lose more than ones that love to win and at this point, it’s not panning out. We get introduced to the team owner Nat (played by Tasya Teles), who inherited the team from her late mother, and is ready to fold the team. Along with her assistants Ziigwan and Miigwan (played by Blair Lamora and Keilani Rose), Nat reluctantly agrees to a plan to rebuild the team to Shoresy’s liking, with the ultimate goal of getting butts in seats. The caveat to that deal? If they ever lose again, the team folds.

The series continues as Shoresy embarks on his goal of building a team of ringers to finish out the season, introducing us to the would-be stars of the show. He rounds out his proclaimed “useless” lineup with the additions of:

      • Three hard-nossed First Nations d-men (coincidentally all named “Jim”, despite Shoresy’s attempt to nickname them), played by Jordan and Brandon Nolan and Jon Mirasty, that know their roles. (Real hockey players, by the way. Just check the links.)
      • The recently fired former coach, Michaels, played by actor Ryan McDonell, as the unstable and sometimes overly emotional goaltender.
      • Former player turned rapper, Dolo, played by Jonathan-Ismael Diaby. (who is also a real hockey player.)
      • A heavyweight veteran legend from Quebec named JJ Frankie JJ, who was also in Letterkenny, played by actor, occasional cameraman, and Yukon Cornelius look-a-like, Max Bouffard.
      • The problematic lacrosse star named Goody, played by Andrew Antsanen.
      • And former player Ted “Hitch” Hitchcock (also appearing in Letterkenny), played by former NHLer Terry Ryan, whose temper is equaled only by his crazy Newfie-slang language and his love of martinis.

And as they say, hilarity ensues.

Without giving away the entire series and putting endless spoilers in here episode by episode, I will just say a few things about the show.

While Letterkenny is fun, and episodically ridiculous at times, I think Shoresy takes that fun and amplifies it, adding in a great storyline with strategic continuity. It can easily be viewed as the prototypical “us against the world” underdog sports story, and I’d even go as far as somewhat of a “buddy-cop” comedy/drama, at the same time.

But I think the depth and authenticity of the actors coupled with the script writing lend to making it way less cookie-cutter and more unique. Why? Because it’s shockingly layered and not just comedy for comedy’s sake. It really has heart.

My best attempt at a comparison would be to bill this as a pseudo-modern day Slap Shot, where the main character takes on the duty of the hero. Despite seemingly impossible scenarios, Shoresy still cares enough about his team, his teammates, his city, and the game he loves, to not give up. It’s hard also to not compare the three Jims to the Hanson Brothers. 

Still, it shows that despite these rugged senior league hockey lifers demonstrating that they are not to be taken lightly, they do a great job of showing how all the characters are more than that. As the episodes go on, you start to see where the whole idea of Shoresy came from, why he is the way he is, and really get a sense of his vulnerableness off the ice in both the locker room and outside the rink. But they don’t unravel that in a patronizing way like some shows and movies tend to do, thinking the viewer is naive enough to need the extra exposition.

So ya, with that, I definitely recommend Shoresy if you were a Letterkenny fan. In fact, it’s almost imperative that you watch it. But if you didn’t watch the latter, or may not have been a fan, Shoresy may be superior as its own stand-alone series and there may still be something you can get out of it.

If you are a hockey fan or just fan of irreverently vulgar comedy in general, you need to watch this show. Right now, there are two seasons, the first came out in May of 2022 and the second season in October 2023 (September in Canada). You can find the series mainly on Hulu in the US. As of this writing, season three is in production and I, for one, can’t wait.

Tim Parish is a writer-at-large for Puck Junk. Follow him on X/Twitter @therealdfg.

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Author: Tim Parish

Tim is a hockey nut and music aficionado who, despite a busy life, somehow still finds time for collecting. He's been a sports card collector for over three decades and his collecting habits have evolved many times over the years. Tim has collected all the major sports, but has always come back to hockey and hockey card collecting. It’s a lifelong hobby, so he’s in no hurry and not going anywhere anytime soon. Highly opinionated and never wrong, Tim’s world view of hockey is as keen as any talking head or insider on a major sports network; the only thing missing are the “unnamed sources.” Sarcasm is also his strong suit. You can find Tim and his warped ramblings on Twitter @TheRealDFG.

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