Tonight is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings. For hardcore hockey enthusiasts like myself, it’s a reason to get pumped up for the last few games of the season. For everyone else, however, it’s a reason to take a step back and lovingly reflect on great hockey-related movies like Slap Shot, Mystery Alaska, Miracle and that one that happened in the 1980s with Rob Lowe.

Yup, the sport of hockey has literally given audiences hours, or maybe even tens of hours, of movie magic, thanks in large part to The Mighty Ducks, which proved popular enough for two sequels. You would have thought an entire generation reared on that greatness would have produced a few more good hockey players, but sadly, thanks to a lax understanding of the rules, a heavy emphasis on the Knucklepuck and utterly bizarre and counterproductive practice methods employed by Coach Gordon Bombay, we’re still light years behind our neighbors to the North.

That being said, not everyone on the Mighty Ducks is an insult to the game of hockey. There are a few players who seem to genuinely know what they’re doing, and there are a few more who could have genuinely contributed to youth hockey teams around the country. So, let’s take a look back.

Here is every single Mighty Duck, ordered by hockey ability…

19) Luis Mendoza
Number: 22

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Lightning fast skater, hard worker, South Miami flair.

Cons: Does not know how to stop.

Analysis: Luis can’t stop. Let’s just pause and think about that for a minute. He’s a hockey player, and he’s incapable of stopping. That means, at some point on the majority of his shifts, he’s going to wipe out and run into the boards, blowing his scoring chance and rendering himself incapable of backchecking. That’s unacceptable if you’re playing at a high level, and while the idiots who picked Team USA seem to think that glaring deficiency is balanced out by his ability to skate blue line to blue line in 1.9 seconds, I'm here to tell you it is not. Not even close.

And don’t fill up the comment section with a bunch of nonsense about how he stopped that one time and awkwardly put the puck into the net, while the goalie was cleaning snow out of his eyes. I’m aware that happened. It doesn’t make up for the rest of the blowouts or all of those cans poor Jan had to pick up. My advice, he should stick to baseball.
18) Peter Mark
Number: 24

Movies: The Mighty Ducks

Pros: Aggressive, endless supply of sarcasm.

Cons: Cancer in the locker room, lacks common sense, tiny

Analysis: Peter can wear his little leather jacket and act like a miniature thug until the ice freezes over, but that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t have the lower body strength to clear opposing players out from in front of the net. Perhaps more importantly, he also doesn’t have the emotional control or the common sense to overhear comments and keep them in perspective. He tried to turn the team against Gordon Bombay in the first movie, and surprise surprise, he didn’t make it onto Team USA’s roster for the sequel. Thank God he didn't too because who knows what might have happened if he'd have been the one to see Bombay having ice cream with the Iceland chick.

You just can’t have people like this in the dressing room. For a team to function properly, people need to be on the same page. The importance of chemistry cannot possibly be overstated. Players slip every year in the draft because they have poor "intangibles" or they’re seen as "fit problems". Peter Mark is both.
17) Tommy Duncan
Number: 2

Movies: The Mighty Ducks

Pros: Passion for hockey, spunky attitude, has a sister who is willing to play.

Cons: Not solid on his skates, poor lateral skating, has a sister who is willing to play.

Analysis: I’m happy for Tommy that he was able to convince his sister to play hockey instead of figure skating. It's a better sport, and no one has ever been clubbed in the knee playing it. The Ducks badly needed some more bodies at that point, and the fact that he plays with a little bit of an edge was helpful for the team’s overall attitude too. Unfortunately, he’s not in very good shape, and he’s really not a huge on-ice contributor. In fact, Team USA decided to go in a different direction and didn’t bring him back for any of the sequels. I can’t imagine anyone on the team was too upset about that either.

Ordinarily, he would get some credit for introducing a sister who also wants to play, but as you’ll see the second you flip the page, she’s not exactly Cammi Granato.
16) Tammy Duncan
Number: 5

Movies: The Mighty Ducks

Pros: Good skater, has a brother who wants to play

Cons: Questionable dedication to hockey, has a brother who wants to play

Analysis: All things considered, Tammy should have stuck with figure skating. Yeah, her brother clearly wanted to make the switch, but neither one of them has enough talent to be anything better than a replacement level player. In fact, neither she nor her brother continued on with the Ducks when they represented Team USA, and while we’re never given a reason, it’s safe to assume they either went back to figure skating or Coach Bombay just decided he needed real contributors.

If there was any question as to Duncan’s longterm legacy and contribution to the team, I present you her Wikipedia entry…

15) Dave Karp
Number: 5

Movies: The Mighty Ducks

Pros: Goofy personality that keeps the room light.

Cons: Easily terrified, not a strong skater, poor conditioning.

Analysis: Let’s not sugarcoat this. Karp is the fat kid. Even on a team of lazy, out of shape dudes, he’s the one you would single out as the fat kid. His backwards skating can only be described as poor, and he’s easily intimidated by opponents. There’s really nothing positive you can say about his on-ice game, but he does bring a lot to the table in terms of keeping the room light. He’s a prankster. He’s well-liked by the other players, and if you’re going to have a guy on the end of the bench who doesn’t play a ton of minutes, you want it to be someone like Karp.

Plus, it needs to be said that no one blows rasberries with more aggressiveness on the window of the limousine that Karp. He looks like he’s trying to expand his mouth wide enough to swallow the glass. It might be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, and I love it.

14) Terry Hall
Number: 1

Movies: The Mighty Ducks

Pros: Good Genes

Cons: Prone to disappearing, might be dead.

Analysis: What in the hell happened to Terry Hall? People like to talk about life’s big mysteries, but I can think of very few I’d like to know more than what happened here. Did Terry quit hockey because he wasn’t as good as his brother? Did he die in a mysterious skate sharpening accident? Regardless, he was a decent enough hockey player back in the day. Clearly, Mr. Hall taught both of his sons some good fundamentals, but there was just no way for Terry to compete with Jesse.

Every single one of the Ducks’ other players that didn’t move on to any of the sequels was a lost cause. Terry wasn’t. He could have made something of himself as a hockey player, which is why it’s a bit disappointing he never got the chance. He's the Jimmy Hoffa of his generation.
13) Ken Wu
Number: 16

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Excellent skater, nimble, a little anger inside, Olympic experience

Cons: Lack of hockey experience, lack of strength, lack of size.

Analysis: Obviously, his skating is the single biggest advantage he has. He uses it more as a distraction in D2, but by the time D3 rolls around, he’s got a fair amount of skill. That being said, he’s very much on the small side. His fighting game, despite numerous tips, is very weak sauce. He’s also in the wrong profession. As a former Olympian, he would have been able to make plenty of money touring the country, becoming a commentator and/ or wearing wild outfits.

He seems to enjoy the fact that he’s an unofficial bash brother, but that distinction is more of a joke than anything else. He can barely protect himself out there on the ice. I do, however, appreciate how well his name lends itself to dramatic on-ice calls.
12) Les Averman
Number: 4

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Reliable passer, good sense of humor, willing to work with dog poop, average dancer.

Cons: Easily intimidated, poor work ethic, might not know the rules of hockey

Analysis: Lester Averman is a clown. He is, without question, the worst of the regular players on the Ducks. He’s lazy, incompetent and routinely asks not to be put into the game. He’d much rather make a killer joke than backcheck with any pace. I’m not going to say he’s a liability on the ice, but he’s the worst of the players who actually contribute.

Still, actually contributing is better than nothing. Beyond that, a case could be made that he improves more than almost any other player to the point where he’s significantly less of a joke in the later movies. Coupled with his enthusiastic and joyful personality, he has ever right to be on the team.
11) Connie Moreau
Number: 18

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Good with the puck, very enthusiastic, excellent teammate

Cons: Lack of size, soft spot for Guy Germaine

Analysis: Despite what Dwayne might tell you, she doesn’t need any help out there on the ice. She’s not a lady. She’s a duck. If you ask Averman, she’s the Velvet Hammer, and she is a legitimate contributor to the team’s success, mostly because she’s willing to go into the corners and win the puck. She’s also fiercely loyal to the other players and Coach Bombay. Throughout the series, she’s seen sticking up for anyone and everyone, probably because she’s easily the team’s most mature player. And it's not even close.

As great as she is with the intangibles, however, she doesn’t seem to possess a lot of actual on the puck skill. She’s not really a playmaker, and she’s probably not the person you’d put out with the game on the line. That being said, she’s smoking hot and Guy is a really lucky dude, even if she routinely chooses the team over him.

10) Dean Portman
Number: 21

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Great size, not intimidated by anyone, good slap shot

Cons: Poor attitude, temper, doesn’t play well with others, dumbass

Analysis: Team USA needed enforcers against Iceland, and poor Fulton just couldn’t handle the load by himself. He needed a partner in crime, and while Dean is far less skilled on the forecheck or with the puck on his stick, he’s more than capable of racking up hits, intimidating the other team and giving his teammates space to skate. He’s also on the right side of the goon line, as he’s not a defensive liability on the ice.

Unfortunately, Portman has almost no control whatsoever over his behavior. He pushes his own teammates, freaks out on his own coach, opposing players and even the lockroom. He’s a loose canon who can’t even be trusted to not get kicked out of games. Everyone needs a player or two like him, but he can’t be trusted to play significant minutes.
9) Dwayne Robertson
Number: 7

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Amazing puckhandling skills, very good skater, can flip the puck really high

Cons: Showboat, lacks aggression, carries a lasso with him during games

Analysis: What a waste of talent. Apart from a few of the top players, Robertson has more natural gifts than anyone on this list. He’s got NHL-level puckhandling skills, and his vision on the ice is excellent. He should have ended the Junior Goodwill Games with dozens of assists and great friendships with snipers like Adam Banks and Jesse Hall, but instead, he couldn’t even be trusted to make a damn penalty shot. Natural gifts aren’t everything. You need common sense and a will to win on the ice.

You also don’t need a lasso. I don’t know who told him it was OK to bring a lasso with him when he’s on the ice, but he busts it out at both practice and during a game. That is not acceptable. Ever. He’s going to get thrown out 100/100 if an official even glimpses it. After all, that’s the only piece of equipment that was needed to straight up murder someone in Clue.
8) Greg Goldberg
Number: 33

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Wide girth, decent positioning, general competence

Cons: Sometimes scared of the puck, easily intimidated, might be moving to Philadelphia, not overly flexible.

Analysis: Goldberg is a passable goalie for a youth recreational league, at least after Coach Bombay shows him he doesn’t have to be terrified everytime someone shoots on him. His positioning is usually decent, and he’s able to deflect pucks into the corners. He also has quite a bit of pride in himself and following a few victories in a row, gets hopped up on his own swagger.

When he’s down, however, his mood and compete level can be appalling. He’s been known to intentionally allow the other team to score, to yell at the referees and to heckle his own defensemen. His flexibility is also poor for a goaltender, and he’s prone to hyper-poor play once the snowball gets moving in the wrong direction.
7) Charlie Conway
Number: 96

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Great attitude, good triple deke, willing passer

Cons: Lack of self-confidence, not overly skilled, doesn’t like cheating to win

Analysis: Charlie is not the best player on the team. It’s idiotic that Gordon Bombay chooses him to take the penalty shot in the first movie. That’s not a decision made in the interests of the team. It’s a decision made in the interests of boning Mrs. Conway. Even so, it could be far worse. Despite his Spaz-Way nickname, he’s got a nice little triple deke, and he has better puck skills than a majority of his teammates.

That’s why it’s so absurdly ridiculous when he gives up his spot when Adam Banks gets healthy in D2. I’m not saying Banks should have sat or his fill-in, Russ, should have bailed, but there were better people to sit than Charlie. The fact that he volunteered shows how good of a teammate he is, but Bombay needed to sack up and act like a coach in that instance. You never sit your seventh best player, even if it's to honor his good sportmanship. Amateur hour.
6) Russ Tyler
Number: 56

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Sweet knucklepuck action, master of disguise.

Cons: Poor conditioning, needs space and time to shoot.

Analysis: What an addition. A random field trip completely turned the entire tournament around thanks to Russ joining the team. His knucklepuck is absolutely unstoppable, when he can get it off. That’s the big problem, though. With his lack of lateral quickness and the monster assembly time it takes to stop the puck, stand it upright and then shoot, he’s far less of a weapon against teams who are prepared for him. You just have to devote a man to defending solely him whenever he’s on the ice.

That’s still pretty impressive though, if you think about it. That means one of the team’s defenseman can never leave him when Russ is in the offensive zone. That’s a huge help, if for no other reason than it opens up space and gives some of the more skilled players the time they need to operate.
5) Julie "The Cat" Gaffney
Number: 6

Movies: D2 and D3

Pros: Quick glovehand, winning experience, great flexibility, drop dead gorgeous.

Cons: Rusty from sitting on her ass for too long.

Analysis: Once you get past the whole "what happened to Terry Hall thing", the single biggest question in the Mighty Ducks universe is why the hell Julie The Cat Gaffney doesn’t play more during the Goodwill Games in D2. She’s just better than Goldberg. Let’s put it out there. Doesn’t it just feel good to admit that? Team USA would have given up less goals with her in net, which is why she can casually rise from the bench and stop Iceland’s best player on the final penalty shot like it ain’t no thing.

It takes work to put together the right defensive pairings and the right forward combinations, but there shouldn’t be any work when it comes to filling out who is in goal. She led her team in Maine to state championships, and she has a hell of a lot more to offer, whether the Iceland players take her seriously or not.
4) Guy Germaine
Number: 00

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Great puck skills, nice vision on the ice, good on-puck pressure

Cons: Often injured, a little small, soft spot for Connie, blue balls

Analysis: Guy is an important reason why the Ducks are able to turn things around so quickly once they get Adam Banks in the first movie. They might have their share of scrubs like Karp, but there are a few guys who know what they’re doing, Guy near the top of the list. He’s a strong skater. He’s very comfortable with the puck on his stick, and he’s even got nice form on his shot. With some training, he only continues to get better too.

You could go back and second guess some of Gordon Bombay’s choices for who took the penalty shots, but Guy was always going to take one and should have always taken one. In the first movie, Connie even thinks Guy should be the one to take the shot that eventually went to Charlie. He’s a good little player, and unlike many of his teammates, he deserved to be representing Team USA.
3) Fulton Reed
Number: 44

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Incredible slap shot, key physical presence, good teammate

Cons: Poor skater, dumbass

Analysis: This is where things get tough. Guy does a lot more things well than Fulton, but the things Fulton does well, he crushes at. He’s the most menacing presence on the entire team. He has a cannon of a shot that’s so fast it leaves puckprints in the gloves of various goalies or just straight up knocks them over. Who else does that? No one. And that makes him an absolute force of nature on the ice, someone capable of completely taking over a game when it’s needed.

It also helps make up for his poor skating, his lack of mobility and his poor hockey instincts. They don’t really focus on this in The Mighty Ducks or any of the sequels, but there’s no way Fulton is defensively responsible in his own zone, just as there’s no way he’s capable of making a breakout pass through the neutral zone. He’s just really limited, but damn, that limited part of him is too incredible to keep down.
2) Jesse Hall
Number: 9

Movies: The Mighty Ducks and D2

Pros: Great skater, great passer, good finisher, flying V expert

Cons: Questionable attitude at times, might need to go look for his brother

Analysis: Jesse Hall is the total package. He’s nimble enough to get up and down the ice quickly, but he’s bulky enough not to get pushed off the puck. He’s capable of working in a rigid structure, and he’s skilled enough where he can open up the game if need be. He’s got impressive hands, and he’s a willing passer. He’s a damn good player, and he’s more than able to carry the Ducks for long stretches of the game.

He’s obviously got the occasional attitude issue, but we’re willing to look past most of those since he’s just a fiery guy who wants to win. A little competitive spirit is a good thing. Plus, we know he’s clutch because he buried his penalty shot without the slightest worry.
1) Adam Banks
Number: 99

Movies: All 3 Movies

Pros: Incredible hands, fierce love of hockey, A+ finisher, superior talent

Cons: Often injured, cake eater, worried about scouts.

Analysis: There’s Adam Banks and there’s everyone else. With all due respect to Jesse Hall, the gap between #1 and #2 on this list is pretty wide. There’s no way the Ducks would have finished off Iceland without Banks, and there’s no way the Ducks would have beat the Hawks without him. He’s a game changer with great speed through the neutral zone, superior hockey sense and a nose for the net.

Literally, the only negative thing you can say about him is that he’s easily injured, but even then, he deserves credit for lying and trying to play through the pain. That might not be smart for his long-term future, but it shows he has the heart of a champion.

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