January 27, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 64  

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SPORTS

Once upon a time... the Mighty Ducks movies

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Never before has a movie been so good, and at the same time, been so very bad.

As a children’s movie, The Mighty Ducks was the perfect film about the underdog, misfit team overcoming the odds to become champions. As a hockey movie, it was another pitiful example about how little Americans know about hockey.

The movie takes place in Minnesota, where a yuppie lawyer is forced to coach the “District 5” hockey team. He quickly finds out that the team is comprised of hoodlums, fat kids and generally kids with no talent... or the proper equipment.

Coach Gordon Bombay slowly starts to turn the team around, but he is still haunted by his own past as a peewee hockey player. He is shocked to find that his first game is against the Hawks, his former team, and coach Reilly, who’s team’s motto is, “it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!” Many years earlier, Bombay missed a penalty shot, which cost the Hawks and Reilly the championship.

Under the guidance of their reluctant coach, the team eventually improves thanks to his unorthodox methods. They use eggs as pucks to learn about soft hands and Goldberg the goalie is tied to the net to overcome his fear of pucks.

As the team improves thanks to the ‘Oreo Line’, the “Flying V” and new players Fulton Reed (a troubled kid with a blistering slap shot) and Adam Banks (a former Hawk), they gain a sponsor in Bombay’s boss, Mr. Duckworth, and the Mighty Ducks are born.

Along the way, coach Bombay influences every one of the players’ lives. He takes a particular interest in young Charlie Conway — as well as his mom. He takes Conway under his wing and molds him into a better player and teaches him the art of the “triple deke,” Bombay’s own patented move.

With their new name, uniforms, equipment and newfound confidence, the Ducks become the team to beat and go all the way to the finals, which turns out to be a rematch with the Hawks.

In true Disney movie fashion, the Ducks fall behind early, only to make a miraculous comeback in the third period. When it all comes down to a penalty shot with the game tied, Bombay looks to Charlie to be the hero.

Faced with the same situation that his coach once did, Charlie doesn’t disappoint as he uses the triple deke to beat the Hawks goalie and win the championship for the Ducks.

For some, however, what may be remembered most is the poor hockey action. There are blatant rule infractions and most people don’t take slapshots while on breakaways.

Based on its success, this movie went on to spawn two sequels, an animated series, an animated movie and unfortunately an NHL team that almost won the Stanley Cup.

 

 

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