Clinton, N.Y. - Hundreds showed up to the Clinton Arena donning hockey gear for an open casting call for what was being described as a major motion picture, Thursday.
Over 300 participants lined up for their chance to get on the ice and audition for principal and extra roles in what is to be a hockey-themed film.
The movie will be produced by Slater Brothers Entertainment, that has strong local ties to the region.
"We grew up here. I used to play at Colgate University, my dad was the coach there, Terry Slater for a lot of years and we come back every year for our film festival," said film producer, Grant Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment. "So this is always been home."
Athletes were given a specific number and ushered on to the ice in groups sorted by age. There were athletes ranging from teenagers up through people ages 50+.
Slater said that the group received over 5,000 responses once they released the information, with people reaching out from all across the Continent such as California, Michigan, New Jersey and parts of Canada.
"Our hope is that we also have a lot of local players," Slater said. "It'd be exciting to have a film that we're shooting here, sort of in our home turf here with a bunch of local, hopefully, maybe future movie stars."
There were no specific criteria that the casting crew was looking for in terms of age, ethnicity, or physical appearance, but Slater, who was on the ice directing drills throughout the night, said that they wanted to see players that could skate well, handle the puck and had an authentic look in their equipment.
"We want it to be realistic, you want to see guys who can actually play the game," he said. "We've all watched some of those hockey movies in the past where the players can't really skate so it was really important that we found some hockey players and there's plenty here in central New York.
For players, it was the chance of a lifetime. Not only were they allowed to step onto the ice for a free night playing the sport they love, but they got to showcase their skills to film producers and directors, with the chance to appear on the silver screen.
“I’m really excited about this, as much as it’s a joke I’ve been looking for my break like anyone else who comes out and tries to get this, but it’s mostly for the experience," said Nick VanLiew, 23, an auditioning hockey player from the Albany area. "I’m not really relying on anything, it would be nice it, would be a great experience, but I’m just here to have fun out, here to have a good time”
VanLiew hasn't been playing hockey competitively in the last year, its his first year away from the game since before he was eight. Because of that, this opportunity meant more to him than just a potential role in a film.
"Once you play hockey you fall in love with the sport so to not be out there is heartbreaking," he said. "So getting out there, doing something (somewhat) competitively, but meaningful out there on the ice, it's good to be back."
The movie is set to begin filming in February 2019.