• James Parry/Audrey Wall

Jacques Demers will not be present for Red Army screening

YLJ FILE PHOTO/JAMES PARRY Canadian Senator and former NHL Coach Jacques Demers was scheduled to speak at the April 11 screening of Red Army.

Hospitalized in Montreal overnight Wednesday after suffering a stroke, Hudsonite, Quebec Senator, and former NHL winning coach Jacques Demers, 71, will now not be one of the high profile guest speakers when the Greenwood Centre for Living Arts, in association with the Hudson Film Society (HFS), screens the prize-winning documentary film, Red Army, at the Hudson Village Theatre, on Monday, April 11.

The fundraiser screening will, however, go on as planned, confirmed Greenwood's Audrey Wall in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal this morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jacques and his family at this very difficult time,” said Wall. “But we know that he would want the show to go on.”

Organizers of the evening, including HFS president Clint Ward, were busy Thursday morning lining up a possible last-minute substitute for Demers to join local businessman and former Team Canada defenseman, Michel Poirier, as well as hockey legend Guy Lapointe, on stage.

The movie traces the unfolding of that visceral sense of purpose from the early 1960s (think Cuban Missile Crisis) through to the present day, assessing its long-term impact on hockey with special emphasis on the post-Glasnost era of the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and Russia became a shadow of its former self.

Given all this material to work with, it is no surprise Red Army emerges as the kind of film that leaves the viewer hanging, the kind that fires up a host of questions and comments, and deeply held opinions.

The focal point of the Red Army experience is Viacheslav (Slava) Fetisov, one of the Soviet’s greatest stars who eventually made it to the NHL with both Detroit and New Jersey and today is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Outspoken almost to a fault, he speaks forcefully and without fear of contradiction, often backing film-maker/interviewer Gabe Polsky into an awkward corner with his harsh interjections.

Slava’s story is a complex one: fortunately he tells it with such clarity and passion that just hearing his words helps the viewer begin to make sense of the conundrum that is Soviet/Russian hockey. What our special guests will say about his comments will be very interesting.

Tickets: $25. Available at Boutique Pure Art (422 Main Rd., Hudson) or by calling 450-458-7321 in advance. www.greenwood-centre-hudson.org