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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 ... Himself
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 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 great hockey movie! See more »


Drama | Romance | Sport


PG | See all certifications »






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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The fight scene with the L.A. Kings is footage taken from a brawl between the Leafs and Kings that happened January 23, 1971 following an altercation involving Toronto goaltender Jacques Plante and L.A. forwards Bill Flett and Ed Joyal. Both benches cleared, resulting in 52 minutes in penalties. The Kings would go on to win the game 3-2. 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 »

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User Reviews

Mediocre at best. Only for the hockey or 70s fan.
24 July 2013 | by goods116See all my reviews

I did not enjoy this film much. Basic love story with some hockey scenes. Usually, the sports scenes can make up for a weak plot in these types of films. But I found the hockey scenes here boring as well. Most of the hockey scenes just showed the players skating around, you did not see any real action or plays. Even the main character is never seen actually scoring a goal, just kind of skating around. Perhaps the budget was too low to actually stage some effective game scenes. There were no scenes of dramatic scores, game situations, etc. Then the plot of the main love story was also weakly portrayed. The relationship never seems to get off the ground, most of what you see is disagreement -- but then it is portrayed as some passionate love. So this is just a curiosity for the 70s film buff or hockey fan, nothing else.

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