Top-5 Thursday: Characters From The Mighty Duck Films

Author's note: After watching High Fidelity and remembering how enjoyable it is to make top five lists with friends, I'm going to try something new. Every Thursday I'm going to come up with a top five list that involves Minnesota Wild current events. Is it original? Hell No. Does that matter?



If we haven't said it or the lack of new posts didn't give it away, there's not much to talk about concerning the Wild. Most of the things we want to talk about - unless James Sheppard gets traded again - can be talked about now or in September and nothing changes. It's disappointing because honestly I feel bad like I've let everyone down when a day or two goes by and there isn't a new post.

(Also I should probably stop apologizing every time I write a "Top-5 Thursday." If this was a drinking game, that would be the top rule and you would be drunk and not care about what's on the other side of the jump.)

So this week's top five, if the title didn't give it away, counts down the top five characters in the Mighty Ducks trilogy. Basically the rationale behind this is two-fold. First, about a month ago I watched all three Mighty Ducks films back-to-back-to-back with a group of friends and had fun going back through these nostalgic Twin Cities-based films of my childhood. They're Disney movies made for children but some of the conversations that came up like "I remember playing at the Coon Rapids rink" or "Mickey's Diner is not in Minneapolis" made the night.

Secondly, our friends over at Hockey Wilderness are using the same hockey dead-time to hold a March Madness-style tournament to crown the best hockey movie character. You can find the posts on their site and because there's a bracket for the quack attack jack, I might as well throw in my two cents.

Characters who are not on the list: Luis Mendoza because he represents Team USA despite not knowing how to stop, the Hendrix Hockey Guy, Coach MacKay for her poor tutoring skills, the Iceland trainer for doing a better job tutoring us about Iceland, every Eden Hall administrator, Charlie's Mom/her off-screen husband in the second movie, the guy in South Central who didn't give a shit Team USA broke his windshield playing street hockey, all of the kids in these who also showed up in Heavy Weights (yes even you Goldberg), James Sheppard/every Canadian and Russian player who got a newspaper clipping during the Junior Goodwill Games, Kenny Wu despite the fact he learned how to fight, the multiple personalities of Gunner Stahl and injury-prone Cake Eater Adam Banks.

5. Hans

The patriarch of the 3 Mighty Ducks films, especially since Charlie's father walked out on him and Mr. Ducksworth is a backstabbing Hawks supporter, is loved by all. Not only does Hans gives everyone advice,  he works at the coolest hockey store of all-time. It's so cool they keep Let's Play Hockey clippings from the 70s. It's so cool people sleep in the back. It's so cool as a child I tried to find it in the Twin Cities and only now realize Hans' fictional hockey shop was on a soundstage.

Unfortunately, Hans gets relegated to the five spot because he spent the second movie back in the old country visiting his mother. Very touching - it goes to show what kind of guy Hans is - yet that allowed Gordon to be taken over by Hendrix hockey. Things were eventually restored by brother Jan in his one shining moment but that never stopped Hans. Even in his dying days he helped Charlie get through puberty and his funeral brought everyone together...well except for Jan.

(Not showing up to your own brother's funeral? For shame Jan, for shame.)

4. Julie "The Cat" Gaffney

Goaltending took a similar path in the Mighty Ducks movies that it did during the 90s in the NHL. At first it was non-existent unless someone tied the goalie to the posts, then it's a mixed bag followed by a reliance on defense and 0-0 games. The latter happens mostly thanks to the Marty Brodeur of the Mighty Duck films, Julie "The Cat" Gaffney. No offense to Goldberg, who outside of D2 made one non-tied up save, but between the pipes he could not hold a candle to the cat. No one could.

Plus she was my first movie character crush. That has to count for something.

3. Charlie Conway

Charlie may not the best player (see: taking himself out in D2) or captain (see: quitting in D3) but he's the glue who holds the Mighty Ducks together. He comes through when the team needs him (scoring on a penalty shot that his coach failed to do 20-odd years earlier) and knows their strengths (coaching in D2, assisting Goldberg in D3). Best of all, Charlie's a hockey-loving kid who matures into an adult in front of our eyes. That's all you can ask for a movie character.

He does, however, lose points for not wearing Gopher gear in D3 (Averman does) despite representing them in the first two. It's my list.

2. Mike Modano

He had a short and sweet cameo appearance in the first movie but Modano nailed it like the 1999 Stanley Cup and made you want more. Sound familiar?

The only sad thing about that scene is there's a Minnesota North Stars-Hartford Whalers game at the Met Center going on with sponsors like Winston and Northwest Airlines. None of those exist in 2012...okay Winston does but not in advertising form.

1. Coach Gordon Bombay

I didn't realize until re-watching the first Mighty Ducks movie how racy it is for a Disney movie. Unsupervised kids causing mischief in the streets of Minneapolis throwing dog shit and getting close to gang violence is the only the tip of the iceberg. Bombay is an evil lawyer (because in Disney movies all lawyers are evil) who drinks and drives, is a touch racist (there's an "Oreo line"), lets kids ride in a limo with no seatbelts on the ice and teaches them how to take a dive. And all of those come before the fact that Gordon hates kids enough to say it to their face.

Despite that, he's still likable thanks to the power of children.

Honestly, Coach Bombay is a pretty crappy X and Os coach; especially looking at how good the Ducks can play defensively under Orion. He gets them to use their heart and play to their full potential (on a separate note, I wonder if the sabermetrics crowd could break down the trickeration regressing to the mean in D3) and in return, the players on the Mighty Ducks/Team USA help him battle his lawyer/drinking/obsessive winning demons. By the third movie he had a chance to live out his dreams as a pro hockey player, turning down the chance to return as a lawyer (or even smarter, an agent) to continue to work with hockey on the periphery.

And that's why Bombay's the best character. Yes he plays a role in destroying the hostile and offensive University of North Dakota Eden Hall Warriors name but over the series of three movies Gordon regains his love of the game and grows as a person. Even his sense of humor is there and doesn't evolve around racy material. Bombay is a three-dimensional character in a childhood movie and I have to respect that - he's the champion my friend.

Agree? Disagree? Have an opinion or memory? Tell me in the comments.

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