Mighty Ducks Has Found Its Emilio Estevez Replacement After The Star's Exit

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers went through a massive change between Seasons 1 and 2 when star Emilio Estevez’s departure was announced. As the face of the franchise and arguably the biggest name attached to the Disney+ series, losing Estevez raised the big question of who could possibly fill his shoes… or hockey skates, as the case may be. Now, the show has cast none other than Transformers and Jupiter’s Legacy alum Josh Duhamel to replace Estevez. 

That’s not to say that Duhamel will be playing Gordon Bombay in a recast, however. THR reports that he has been cast to star in Season 2 as a former pro hockey player who has become a coach. Named Gavin Cole, he applies the lessons he learned (and teaches) from hockey to life, and has a knack for inspiring and charming… while also getting intense about the training for the Mighty Ducks in the next chapter of their story on Disney+.

The Mighty Ducks players wind up training under Gave Cole when they head to a hockey institute for a summer camp, which will be the setting of Season 2 in a departure from the first season. Still, there will be familiar faces from the Season 1 cast of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, including Gilmore Girls' alum Lauren Graham. She previously had to leave behind a role on NBC's Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist to come to the Disney+ show.  

The replacement of Gordon Bombay with Josh Duhamel's Gavin Cole came after the initial expectation was for Emilio Estevez to return and reprise his role, in which case the story for Season 2 undoubtedly would have been quite different. News of his departure came back in November 2021, with initial reports stating that a combination of creative differences and conflict over COVID vaccination requirements were the reasons for Estevez leaving. 

The actor and executive producer later released a statement (via Deadline) to clarify the situation from his own perspective, explicitly stating that he is "not anti-vaxx," and that the reason for his leaving The Mighty Ducks: The Game Changers (which he was openly enthusiastic about when he explained why he returned to acting) was "nothing more than a good old fashioned contract dispute" and not because of "an anti-vaccine position." He also cited "a myriad of creative differences," and even thanked the studio and producers.

Josh Duhamel had previously landed a very big live-action role for a streaming series with Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy and expressed his disappointment about its early cancellation back in June, but The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers brings him back to a series regular role on a streaming service courtesy of Disney+. He did also appear on Hulu with an episode of Love, Victor as well. There are currently no details for when Mighty Ducks fans will get to see his debut as Gavin Cole, but the show is clearly making some serious progress on Season 2. 

If you haven't already checked out the show that brought the iconic hockey franchise back to the screen, you can find Season 1 of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (as well as all three Mighty Ducks movies) with a Disney+ subscription now. If you're in the market for some other viewing options during the wait for Josh Duhamel's debut in the next season, be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.