One of the Highest Grossing Documentary Releases of 2019; An Edge-Of-Your-Seat Hockey Thriller
NEW YORK – Nov. 5, 2019 – Critically-acclaimed documentary The Russian Five will make its U.S. television debut on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following coverage of the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.
The Russian Five tells the story of the first five Russians to play hockey together in the National Hockey League (NHL) and how they helped transform the Detroit Red Wings from perennial losers to back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. Toward the end of the Cold War the Red Wings hatched an audacious plan to draft the best Soviet players from behind the Iron Curtain and help them defect to Detroit, sneaking them out under cover of night and whisking them to the Motor City where they won the fans’ hearts and changed the way hockey is played in North America forever.
With never before seen home videos, game footage from some of the most iconic moments of the NHL in the 90’s and interviews with over 10 Hall of Famers, whether you’ve been a lifelong hockey fan or you’re new to the game, The Russian Five is must-see viewing.
“As the home of hockey in the U.S., we are always looking for ways to further serve the sport’s passionate fan base,” said Michael Perman, Vice President, Programming, NBC Sports. “The Russian Five is a perfect fit, as it documents the unconventional and dramatic way one of NHL’s most-memorable dynasties was built. Hockey fans will love this film.”
“The Russian Five left a lasting legacy on the game of hockey and this documentary dives into not only what they accomplished on the ice to bring the Stanley Cup back to Detroit, but also the human side of the story, including their incredible journey from the Soviet Union to Detroit that required cloak and dagger efforts worthy of your favorite Cold War spy novel,” said Joshua Riehl, director of The Russian Five.
The Russian Five was released in US theaters earlier this year and became one of the highest grossing theatrically released documentaries of 2019. Later, the film spent weeks among the top documentaries on the iTunes charts.
A favorite of film critics, the film has a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles Times chief film critic Kenneth Turan called it “a sports film to savor” and also wrote: “One of the most dramatic and emotional of sports stories gets the expert film it deserves…a documentary that is moving in ways you won’t see coming.”
The film won the audience awards at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival and the Windsor International Film Festival, took home the Spirit of Michigan Award at The Detroit Free Press Film Fest, and was named Best of Fest at the Seattle International Film Festival.
The Russian Five is directed by Joshua Riehl, executive produced by Daniel Milstein, and produced by Jenny Feterovich, Steve Bannatyne and Jason Wehling.