11 user 4 critic

Winter Comes Early (1971)

Face-Off (original title)
Love story involving a Canadian professional hockey player (Billy Duke) and a hippie folk singer (Sherry Nelson). Their union is tumultuous, as both try to come to terms with their ... See full summary »


George McCowan


George Robertson (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Armstrong Bruce Armstrong ... Billy at age 3
Eric Cryderman Eric Cryderman ... Father
Don Allen Don Allen ... Billy at age 11
Kay Hawtrey ... Mother
Kathryn Carlling Kathryn Carlling ... Estelle Age 3
Art Hindle ... Billy Duke
Steve Pernie Steve Pernie ... Joe MacMillian
Derek Sanderson Derek Sanderson ... Self
Trudy Young Trudy Young ... Sherry Nelson
Frank Moore ... Barney
George Ealsom George Ealsom ... Max
Robin White Robin White ... Bud
Perry Thompson Perry Thompson ... Garry
Austin Willis ... Graydon Hunter
John Vernon ... Fred Wares


Love story involving a Canadian professional hockey player (Billy Duke) and a hippie folk singer (Sherry Nelson). Their union is tumultuous, as both try to come to terms with their differences in careers and lifestyles. They realize too late that they both love each other. Written by Anita Culley

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of two people... two worlds... one love See more »


Drama | Romance | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Leafs winger Jim McKenny was the stand-in for Art Hindle in the long shots of game action. See more »


Billy walks the streets of Toronto early in the Fall, but passes by a store with a sign promoting Mother's Day. See more »

User Reviews

Schlockey Night in Canada?
19 October 2004 | by animal_8_5See all my reviews

With all certainty, I am convinced that Scott Young's original novel about the tragic love affair between brash hockey player Billy Duke and high-flying rock star Sherilee Nelson, was nothing like this mediocre cinematic fare.

Perhaps the night before he signed over the film rights, Scott was out socializing with son Neil and cohorts Crosby, Stills and Nash. He probably had no idea that Johnny Bassett's film crew would make his masterpiece into little more than a CTV Movie Of The Week. Young was immortalized with a cameo in the movie, alongside some of his pals from the old press box in historic Maple Leaf Gardens. We see lots of hockey stars, but mysteriously, no rock icons. A bit of a disappointment, considering the thrust of the plot.

Its sad when you watch a film to enjoy the thespian abilities of George Armstrong and Derek Sanderson, more than the main actors, Art Hindle (in his pre-E.N.G. days) and Trudy Young (former CBC child star). Seeing the entire 1971 Toronto Maple Leafs roster is a treat for hockey fans of the day, even with painfully wooden speaking roles for Jim Dorey, Paul Henderson, Mike Pelyk and Rick Ley, just to name a few. True acting is found only in scenes featuring veterans Austin Willis and John Vernon, who mainly appeared together, perhaps so they didn't blow the weaker mimics right off the screen.

Noteworthy about FACE OFF also, was the coming out role for by-now-grown child actress Trudy Young, who heretofore was best known as the sassy little spindle from TV's "Razzle Dazzle", "George the St. Bernard" and guest appearances in "The Forest Rangers". Trudy performed all of the special music in the film and even wrote many of the tunes. She subsequently scored only one major TV role later in the seventies as the waitress on "The David Steinberg Show", just before apparently plummeting into oblivion.

It appears FACE OFF joined her in such a plummet, as it is available nowhere in the vast video wastelands. Still, it holds a fond place in the hearts of many Canadian boys and girls who were teens and pre-teens in the early seventies. If anyone out there owns the rights, why not give it a shot on DVD? Even I'd hand over a toonie to rent it!

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Release Date:

12 November 1971 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Winter Comes Early See more »

Filming Locations:

Weston, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
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