The Charleston Chiefs, a minor league hockey team of the Federal league, is in last place. Player/Coach Reggie Dunlap (Paul Newman) is at his wits end. Okay, let's face facts, he really has very little to go on as far as talent. Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) is probably the best player on the team. He does have most goals scored in the entire league. Unfortunately, you can't make a team just on one player. Plus Braden has other things on his mind. His wife is a drunk and depressed woman. Lily Braden (Lindsay Crouse) is an attractive woman who just doesn't feel loved and this is taking it's toll on Ned. He just is losing his concentration on the ice.
The team is doing so badly that manager Joe McGrath (Strother Martin) is always trying to save a buck. He has informed Reggie that at the end of the season the team will be disbanded. You see the main source of income for the town, the auto plant, is closing and there was little money to begin with but in a few months there will be no money to be had in the town.
Reggie wants to know who the owner is but Joe won't tell him. Reggie thinks he can talk the owner in keeping the team going. Reggie has told the team that even if the team folds that they will either one be betrayed to a good team or they are going to be bought out by a Florida group of investors and move. This still doesn't motivate the team.
Joe has signed three players from another league to come and play for the Chiefs. They are the Hanson brothers, Jeff, Steve, and Jack (Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, Jack Hanson). Reggie doesn't play them at first cause he thinks they are a joke but when he does they go nuts and the team gets on the band wagon. These guys start fights just to start them and the team and the crowd in the stands go absolutely nuts. The team starts winning and well just watch the movie and see where it goes.
Director George Roy Hill does a great job with this movie. It has laughs all over the place and is something you can watch over and over. So take the time and watch hockey at it's purest form, mean.