The rewarding and harsh realities of following one’s dreams and stepping outside of identical comfort zones to make it big, as shown in The Russian Five documentary, is coming to VOD on Friday.
Back in the 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings were between a rock and a hard place, being considered a laughing stock or "the Dead Wings” due to their performance on the ice and struggle to maintain a concrete ratio of wins and losses. The secret weapon to end this negative reputation was the recruitment of five individuals — Russian natives Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov, and Igor Larionov.
These names, now notable and iconic in National Hockey League history, are bigger than their contribution to a series of wins, as their journey of self-discovery and adaptation — rooting from their emigration to America and resulting in their integrating of two cultures — sculpted them into inspirational legends.
The award-winning project, which has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is so far the third-highest grossing documentary this year, opened in Detroit on March 22.
The Metro Times spoke with director Joshua Riehl in early April, who expressed that the road to presenting this story wasn’t the smoothest six-year process, but he pursued the vision due to wanting to convey a bigger message.
“You go back to the motto of the city from its inception — we hope for better things and we will rise from the ashes," Riehl said. "That's what Mike Ilitch did with the team. That's what they had to do after they lost Konstantinov in '97. Those are the things I'm hoping people take away from it. There's a universal human truth to this story that I'm interested in. I didn't want to make a hockey film. I wanted to make a film about human beings who also play hockey.”
In addition to the abundance of successes from the film, as well as the anniversary of the Detroit Red Wings winning the 1997 Stanley Cup, three fans stationed in Michigan and Ohio will have a chance to enter a sweepstakes for exclusive prices through the Russian Five official website.
The grand prize winner and two guests will attend a private party at Radio for One Studios, where a special screening of The Russian Five will be shown and dinner will be served. Hosted by professional ice hockey forward and retired Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty, the event will also include special appearances by Riehl, producer Jenny Feterovich, the Grind Time podcast team, and the Detroit Cast crew.
A chance for this winner to appear live on the Grind Time podcast and have an open dialogue about the history of the Red Wings with McCarty will also be one of the rewards.
It doesn’t stop there. A second place winner will receive a signed The Russian Five movie poster, and third place will receive an official T-shirt.
Entries run through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12.
To enter, those interested must fill out the short form on www.therussianfive.com/sweepstakes/ and they’ll be entered to win The Russian Five sweepstakes. Contestants must be legal residents of Michigan or Ohio, they must be 18 years old at the time of submission and only one entry per person is allowed.
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