'Red Penguins': Meet Howard Baldwin, Steven Warshaw and know about rise and fall of Russia's ice hockey team

Polsky's documentary film shares insights and anecdotes of the high and mighty, active participants in this venture


                            'Red Penguins': Meet Howard Baldwin, Steven Warshaw and know about rise and fall of Russia's ice hockey team
(IMDb)

Writer and director Gabe Polsky's latest documentary, 'Red Penguins', chronicles the fall and rise of the Red Army Hockey team that was Moscow's pride at the time. A seemingly grim take on the topic, the official synopsis teases: "Red Penguins tells a story of capitalism and opportunism run amok - complete with gangsters, strippers, and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink in Moscow. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the famed Red Army hockey team formed a joint-venture that showed anything was possible in the new Russia. Eccentric marketing whiz, Steve Warshaw, is sent to Russia and tasked to transform the team into the greatest show in Moscow. He takes the viewer on a bizarre journey highlighting a pivotal moment in U.S. Russian relations in a lawless era when oligarchs made their fortunes and multiple murders went unsolved."

Polsky's documentary film shares insights and anecdotes of the high and mighty, active participants in this venture. And that brings us to the familiar faces to be expected on-screen as history is repainted. 

Howard Baldwin

Producer Howard Baldwin arrives at Paramount Pictures premiere of 'SAHARA' at the Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 4, 2005, in Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

 

The acclaimed producer and actor was also the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Apart from Academy-nominated films like 'Ray' to is credit, Baldwin also founded the New England Whalers ice hockey franchise in the World Hockey Association (WHA) and also owned part of the Minnesota North Stars. He won the Stanley Cup in 1992 with Pittsburgh and the WHA's coach of the year award was originally named after him.

Steven Warshaw

Steven Warshaw attends 'Red Penguins' screening during the 2019 Hamptons International Film Festival on October 11, 2019, in East Hampton, New York (Getty Images)

 

The Penguins' then (1990s) executive vice-president for sales and marketing, Warshaw, has been described as a go-getter and was sent to Moscow to strike the deal between the Penguins and the Army. Often labeled as outrageous, Warshaw's marketing strategies after the amalgamation in a foreign land came to an end after a Russian mob moved in and violence on the streets grew insurmountable. Warshaw reportedly left the country out of fear for his safety.

Viktor Tikhonov

The legendary Russian ice hockey coach had led the Soviet Union team to several Olympic and World Championship gold medals. With a legacy of brilliant athletes, Tikhonov was also a successful hockey player who had won the Soviet titles as a defenseman.

'Red Penguins' releases on Tuesday, August 4, On Demand.

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