This movie was originally going to be filmed in Rossland, British Columbia - the future location of Miracle (2004) - and was going to be known as "Face Off." Eventually they decided to use Canmore, Alberta, and went with the current name.
At the end of the film, the recruited players are going to play for the Binghamton Rangers, the AHL affiliate for the New York Rangers at that time. The franchise is still in operation, however it is now the AHL affiliate for the Ottawa Senators.
This movie takes place in the fictional town of Mystery Alaska, the game is scheduled for January 16th. Early in the movie we are told the game is 32 days away which would make it mid December. In mid December it would be dark for all but 3-5 hours of the day yet most of the movie is shown as taking place during daylight hours including the scene in the school and the sheriff going to work.
Burt Reynolds' character name Walter Burns is the same as the editor of Cary Grant's character in 'His Girl Friday'. Reynolds starred in 'Switching Channels', a remake of 'His Girl Friday', as the character originally played by Grant, named Walter Burns.
The defense Russell Crowe teaches the team is a Neutral Zine Trap, or simply, The Trap/Trap. It was made famous by the NJ Devils in the late 90s and early 00s, culminating in 3 Stanley Cup championships. Since it greatly diminishes scoring opportunities, the NHL made it illegal.