As one does when there is no actual hockey on TV, as was the case on Saturday morning and into the early afternoon, I began looking for a way to fill that void and settled on a hockey movie.
And lo and behold, HBO just happened to be showing D2: The Mighty Ducks on one of its subchannels. So because it had been about six months since I last watched it and it’s always a fun, harmless movie to kill time with, I settled in for another viewing of this cinema classic.
During the movie’s first scene Coach Gordon Bombay, played of course by Emilio Estevez, is playing for the Minnesota Waves of some random minor league, hoping to make it to the NHL.
The announcer for the game, Bob Miller, who apparently had the night off from calling LA Kings games to take in a weird minor league game in Minnesota, remarks that Bombay is 29-years-old, at which point I thought to myself, “That is the most fake thing in the movie, because Estevez looks like he’s roughly 45 in this.”
Turns out I was wrong. While he was playing a 29-year-old, Estevez was only 31 at the time of the movie’s release, so really, not that fake!
But everything else in this movie is absurd the more you stop and think about it. Let’s take a look at the most insane things to happen in this movie, and we’ll keep this just about off-ice stuff, because God knows the on-ice actual action is even more absurd, and we could do an entire post just on the insanely fake things that go on there.
USA Hockey hires some random guy with 10 games of local pee wee experience to coach a team in a legit competition
Let us not forget that Bombay didn’t even want to coach the team in the first movie, or be around hockey. He was assigned to the team as punishment for a DUI, flat-out telling the team, “I hate kids, and I hate hockey,” when he meets them for the first time.
You all know what happens, after a rocky start the team grows and bonds, and wins the local pee wee hockey title. Which, is apparently also the state championship even though maps in the movie show just city. Apparently in Minnesota they only play hockey in that one city. But back to Bombay’s credentials, it’s a charming story, but hardly deserving of jumping up about 10 levels in competition.
This would be like some random NAIA coach winning his conference tournament after stepping in for a coach, and then the Dream Team calling them up to coach them in the next Olympics. It ain’t happening.
Now, in Team USA and Hendrix Hockey’s defense, Bombay was a great player growing up and also recently played in the minors, so he does have the correct background, but 10 games of coaching and hating hockey a year ago does not seem like the best candidate to coach the team.
Team USA just accepts all the returning Ducks on the roster, despite most of them being horrible a year ago
Keep in mind that last year when Bombay took over the team, they could barely skate, couldn’t pass, couldn’t score, and the goalie was afraid of the puck.
Jump ahead one year and virtually the entire original team (well, those who were invited back for the movie) is picked for Team USA, because somehow in that one year they became the best that the country had to offer for a junior tournament. No wonder this country can’t win a gold medal at the real Olympics.
I get the head coaching wanting to have his own guys/girls on the team, but this is absurd, outside of one player, Adam Banks, and MAYBE if you really wanted him Fulton Reed, none of them would be close to good enough to make the team, yet, we have eight kids from a local pee wee championship winning team on the squad.
They have one good actual hockey player. Everyone else is a gimmick
As we just noted above, Adam Banks is the only actual, good hockey player on the team, everyone else just has some sort weird thing they do well, and that somehow earns them a spot on this Frankenstein of a roster.
There’s a guy who can’t stop, which seems important in hockey. A figure skater who has no skills other than spinning around and distracting the other team because he looks like an idiot out there. A cowboy who can handle the puck well but literally does zero in all of the games other than lasso a guy.
There’s an argument that Fulton Reed is the second best player on this team, non-goalie division, because he plays a physical game and has a hard slap-shot. Other than that, everyone else on the team is worthless and wouldn’t get a sniff at making the team.
There were no tryout camps, no scouting prospects, nothing, just, “Hey, here’s all the players you get for this, good luck!”
Everyone else has full 20-player rosters…Team USA has 13 players, including two goalies
Now, when you’re playing in an international tournament you usually skate 20 or so players and have a couple of reserves just in case injuries happen. Team USA, either out of stupidity or arrogance, dresses only 13 players for each game, the eight original Ducks and the five “best players in the world” that USA Hockey tells them to dress.
Oh two of those 13 are goalies, so they only have 11 skaters to play a full 60-minute game. As someone who has played on beer league teams with about that many guys, you would be exhausted halfway through the game, no matter how young you are. Shoot, even the FHL and SPHL skate with 15 skaters, enough for three full lines. So even if you went by that roster style, team USA is still four players short of a full roster.
Even more insane, after Adam Banks, the only Duck who might actually have a shot at making this team if this movie were real, comes back from injury they say they don’t have a roster spot because it’s full. THERE ARE LITERALLY NO LESS THAN FOUR OPEN SPOTS ON THE ROSTER, HOW DO THEY NOT HAVE A SPOT?!
Team USA randomly adds a guy mid-tournament
Not at all legal. Maybe it would be if he was part of their pool of players who went to camp leading up to the Junior Goodwill Games, but there is no way that in the middle of the tournament they would be able to go out and add some random kid playing street hockey in a nearby neighborhood to the team.
He literally walks in off the street like it’s a pick-up game and is all, “I got next!” and the people at the Goodwill Games just let it go.
Coach Bombay apparently knows NOTHING about the other teams
A couple times before the team gets to the Junior Goodwill Games, the movie mentions that Iceland are the heavy favorites at the tournament.
Well, despite hearing this, Bombay decides that he doesn’t need to do his homework on the team, because after Iceland’s coach Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson crashes his press conference with some lame trash talk, Bombay goes, “Wolf ‘The Denist’ Stansson is their coach!? You didn’t tell me that!”
HOW. How do you not know who the coach of the reported best team in the tournament is, let alone one that had a stint in the NHL. It’s not like they were Trinidad and Tobago or Italy where you could look past them knowing the team is a joke, this is literally the only other team anyone talks about, and yet, Bombay comes in with no knowledge of them. Just horrendous coaching and preparation.
There are no Team USA other coaches than Bombay
Every other team in this tournament has 3-4 people behind bench assisting the head coach throughout the tournament. USA has Bombay and that’s it, there is nobody else to offer up any sort of insight or advice during the game.
When Bombay just randomly flakes out they have to pull their tutor, because there is school in the middle of summer apparently, out of the crowd and onto the bench to act as coach so they don’t get disqualified.
And the ref, who probably knows who all the coaches are in this tournament, just goes with it like, “Hmm these kids would never lie to me and this random woman who just climbed over the glass is probably their coach!”
And then in the last game against Iceland there’s Hans, Gordon, the tutor Miss McKay, and who knows who else back behind the bench. Because apparently you can just add to the coaching staff mid-tournament like they did the roster and the Russ Tyler addition.
Coach Bombay, who is coaching kids hockey, gets endorsement deals and does photo shoots
Quick, name me the head coach any junior Olympics team in any sport. That’s right you can’t.
And yet, somehow this movie has us thinking that a random pee wee coach/minor league player from Minnesota has the goods and should be a model for a bunch of suits, hockey gear, and even shoes!
They could have picked millions of people who are more famous than this guy, but somehow a nobody coach who is leading a team of 13 players is going to be the face of hockey and fashion.
Holy hell what a stupid plot point.
There’s a team from Trinidad and Tobago
Nope. There has been one player who was born in the county to play pro hockey, and he played back in the old WHA.
There is no ice hockey in the country, as in, no adult league, pick-up games, or national program despite the island amazingly having three ice rinks.
You would not have a team at any sort of international competition if you don’t have a registered national program.
Where the hell is Canada or Russia in all this?
Did Canada and Russia not send teams but Trinidad and Tobago did? In what world does that happen?
Or maybe they decided this tournament was for scrub nations, I mean, Germany along with Trinidad and Tobago and Italy makes appearances, and just decided they were going to send the D- team to this. Because both of these teams are listed on the standings board, in the same group no less, and yet we don’t see one thing about them throughout the movie.
If this movie had any semblance of realism those two teams would probably have ran over every other team, and then played in front of 58 people at Arrowhead Pond for the gold, not Iceland, who has literally never been good at hockey, and a bunch of bums from Minnesota who are only there because of the coach.
It’s a winter sport being played…in the middle of the summer?
In the Olympics they play in the winter, but for some reason the Junior Goodwill Games have hockey in the summer, because apparently their local travel teams don’t want their players being gone for two weeks during the season.
Either that or there is just no Winter Junior Goodwill Games, and they randomly added hockey as the only winter sport for some reason.
They just decide to switch jerseys in the middle of the game
Unless there is a legit reason, like say jerseys being damaged or something along those lines, I’m pretty sure this is illegal and would never be allowed. Mainly because the last time I checked, The Mighty Ducks is not a registered country at these games.
So there you go, there’s a few things that bothered me outside of the hockey in this movie.
Overall, great movie, 8 out of 10.
One thought on “Just how fake was D2: The Mighty Ducks?”
Came here for affirmation on just about every point you make here ….
I think you pretty much hit them all!
Old favorite movie of mine, but this and D3 make such little sense overall. The ‘fame and fortune’ getting to Gordon’s head in D2 kills me. Yep, endorsement deals for some rando junior hockey coach – trying to be Pat Riley with that slicked back hair half way through the movie. I don’t know why I still love watching this hilariously dumb movie but I still watch it when I see it on (or if I’m bored and it’s on HBOMAX like right now)!