An Ode to the ODR: Assiniboine Grad Wins Prestigious Award For Hockey Documentary

Randy Frykas

It would be inaccurate to describe his career as an “overnight sensation twenty years in the making”, but Assiniboine Media and Communications graduate Randy Frykas is now receiving well-deserved recognition after 20 years of outstanding work.

The Winnipeg-based filmmaker’s documentary Outdoor Hockey Club – his ode to outdoor hockey rinks and the people who play on them – has been crowned as the winner of the “Purpose” category in the inaugural Outside Awards. The award comes with $5,000 USD in prize money and is part of a collaborative effort between Outside Magazine and renowned outdoor adventure multimedia company, Warren Miller Entertainment.

The Outside Awards have three categories: Purpose, Awe and Inspire. The winning films are shown across Canada and the US as part of this year’s Warren Miller film tour, and will then be shown in Europe.

“What’s been awesome,” says Randy, “is the fact that since mid-October, my film has been playing in theatres all across the United States. I’m here in Winnipeg and my film has grown legs, and it’s doing its thing. So, the next day I will wake up and I will have a message from someone who watched it in Scottsdale, Arizona or New Hampshire.”

“Being able to connect with people from Warren Miller Entertainment and Outside Magazine, and the crews and all the audiences, it’s such an energizing experience. It’s neat to see how it’s gone from basically the second bedroom in my condo to movie screens all across the US and Canada right now.”

The Outside Magazine award for Outdoor Hockey Club was actually Randy’s second award nomination. In 2020, he and a colleague were nominated for a Canada Screen Award (formerly known as the Gemini Awards) for their work on an APTN television series, First Contact.
They didn’t win, but Randy says: “There’s the cliché that it’s just an honour to be nominated, but it was. That’s something I can always hang my hat on. I didn’t win, but I was recognized.”

Looking toward the future, Randy plans to continue working on the Outdoor Hockey Club project for the rest of his life. “The ultimate dream is to work on whatever you want to work on,” he says. “It was a conscious effort of mine to become the ‘outdoor hockey guy’. If someone has an outdoor hockey story, I want to be the one who tells it. If some company or TV channel have outdoor hockey content and need a filmmaker for it, I want to be the first person they think of.”

Last year, Randy travelled to locations in Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to record footage for Outdoor Hockey Club.
“My focus last winter was Canada, but in less time, I’ve already made more progress with building an audience in the States, mainly because of the film tour.”

“This winter, I’m going to be filming in the US, and really digging into the communities and audiences that I’ve been connecting with,” he says. “I’ve scouted a location in Duluth and I’ve got a story in Wisconsin. I’ll go do those at the end of January, and I heard some great things from some of the audiences in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.”

“This is an ever-evolving project, but where I’m at right now is I’m going to shoot as much as I can this winter. My hope is to use this spring and summer to edit a feature length film together, and then release it at the beginning of next winter.”

For aspiring filmmakers hoping to follow in Randy’s footsteps, Randy has some advice: “Take the time to experience different roles in media and communications. The more you understand all of the pieces, the better you will become at focusing on one. Once you find the one you are most passionate about, work towards it.”

“I love hockey and filmmaking and I couldn't be happier with where I am today.”