With COVID heavily impacting the sporting calendar over the last couple of years, one addition I made to the site’s content was the inclusion of reviews of sports movies. As soon as I started this, I knew that I would enjoy looking back over the Mighty Ducks trilogy, which I had always loved watching growing up.
Having finally finished going through the movies, I decided that today I would do something a little different: Looking at all 19 characters to play for the Ducks over the trilogy and giving myself the impossible task of ranking them all. This ranking is not based on just their ability, but also their role within the team, so you may find that some arguably more skilful players drop down the list as I have questions about other aspects of their character. I will also be ranking on what I see, not what I think a player’s potential is, so unfortunately those characters who only appeared in the first movie did admittedly find themselves at a disadvantage.
So without further ado, my ranking of the Ducks is as follows:
19: Peter Mark
#24, Defenseman – District 5 Ducks
It’s never nice to be last on the list, but unfortunately Mark takes this spot. Ice hockey is a physical sport and sadly Mark seriously lacked in this area, while not carrying on with the rest of the team never allows us to see if he finds ways to excel despite this. And to add to this, Mark was also not the best for the squad dynamics, being quick to judge and take offence, and preferring to stage a walk-out rather than try to resolve any issues.
18: Dave Karp
#11, Defenseman – District 5 Ducks
Another whose stock was hurt by only appearing in the first movie. Karp is sadly not a great skater, but what puts him above Peter Mark is that he is much less of a distraction off the ice. But he is also more physical, making him a bit more of a challenge for opposition forwards to beat.
17: Tommy Duncan
#2, Defenseman – District 5 Ducks
Someone who could have rose up the ranks had he remained with the Ducks, Tommy Duncan’s lack of hockey experience hurts his ranking. In fact arguably the 2 best things he brings to the team is his skating ability (due to his figure skating background) and his sister Tammy.
16: Tammy Duncan
#5, Forward – District 5 Ducks
Oh what a shame that Tammy Duncan did not appear in D2 or D3, as I really feel that she had the potential to push herself up the rankings had she remained on the team. Like her brother Tommy, she lacked the hockey experience, but her figure skating background meant that she was a natural on the ice, while we also see that she isn’t afraid to get physical when angered.
15: Terry Hall
#1, Forward – District 5 Ducks
Terry Hall was the 3ʳᵈ member of the Oreo Line, which goes a long way to show his talent. His spot on the list is unfortunately harmed by the importance of other forwards to the team, being stuck in the shadow of his older brother Jesse and not appearing beyond the original movie. If I included potential, he would fly up the list, but from what we have actually got to see, I sadly can’t rank him higher than any of the players who featured for Team USA.
14: Dwayne Robertson
#7, Forward – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
If we were looking at simply puck handling and ability, Robertson would be right at the top of the list. However we are looking at hockey, and unfortunately the Texan is too much of a showman, often losing possession from showing off with the puck when a teammate was open for the pass. If there was a hockey version of the Harlem Globetrotters, he would excel with them.
13: Russ Tyler
#56, Defenseman – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
This could be an unpopular pick so low in my rankings but hear me out. Yes, Tyler has a incredible shot in the knucklepuck, but it takes him some time to wind up, which gives the opposition time to blitz him. You just have to look at the final against Iceland, where he is man-marked out of the game until the last minute deception play. And aside from the knucklepuck, there isn’t much else of note to his game.
12: Luis Mendoza
#22, Forward – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
Mendoza may have been one of the hardest players to rank. The forward from Miami has something that translates well into so many sports: pure natural pace. You can’t teach that, and it is frightening to go up against, as it allows him to chase down what would usually be a lost cause if the opponent breaks away, while conversely he is impossible to catch when he breaks away. Unfortunately, his inability to stop himself with any reliability hurts his positioning, as does the quality of his teammates.
11: Lester Averman
#4, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
When putting my rankings together, I was shocked to see how high Averman made it up the list. Most notable for his comedic aspects in the movies, and certainly far from the most physical of players, when you watch the action back, he is a surprisingly competent player, with good puck handling and regularly finds himself on the scoresheet.
10: Jesse Hall
#9, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA
Just cracking the top 10 is Jesse Hall, and if we’re going on ability alone, he should be much higher. Older brother to Terry Hall and another member of District 5’s Oreo Line, Hall is a supremely talented forward and a natural goal scorer. So why is he so low on the list? Well that is all down to his attitude. Hall can easily get frustrated and lash out, which can cost the team. And it’s not just on the ice either, as he constantly allows himself to be distracted by Russ Tyler’s jibes before they become teammates, while he goes out of his way to not make Banks feel welcome after his move from the Hawks to the Ducks. As talented as he is, that’s not the kind of person I want on my team.
9: Ken Wu
#16, Forward – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
When I talked about the potential of Tammy Duncan, Ken Wu is exactly what I had in mind. Very much her replacement in D2 and D3, Wu’s Olympic figure skating background makes him a natural on the ice, and while he initially lacks physicality, he learns to stand up for himself and hold his own on the ice.
8: Connie Moreau
#18, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
“The Velvet Hammer” is exactly what you want in a role model for young girls in sport. Her sex is never really an issue as she gives as good as any of the guys, if not better. A supremely talented skater, Moreau scores her fair share of goals for the team and it’s honestly a shame her character was never given more focus in the movies.
7: Charlie Conway
#96, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
If ever there was someone hard to place on this list, it’s #96. If we’re talking just talent and ability, he should definitely be much lower. However, he is the captain for a reason, as he is the heart of the team—you just have to look at how the Ducks struggle when he walks out on them following an argument with Coach Orion! Charlie is the first to welcome Banks to the team, brings in Tyler to fill the open roster spot on Team USA as he recognises his talent, and then gives up his spot on the roster in the biggest game of his career as Banks returns from injury “for the good of the team”. Give me a team of Charlie Conways over a team of Jesse Halls any day!
6: Dean Portman
#21, Defenseman – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
As talented as the Ducks are, they are so often lacking in physicality compared to their opponents. Well Portman goes a long way to evening things out. The first of the (official) Bash Brothers to make the list, Portman is the ultimate enforcer in defence, but what often goes unnoticed is just how good a skater he is. Portman is the kind of player who can ruin an oppositions momentum and turn it in the Ducks’ favour.
5: Julie Gaffney
#6, Goaltender – Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
Julie “The Cat” Gaffney was another who proved really difficult to rank. We only actually get to see her compete in a couple of matches (mostly in a Ducks team struggling to transition under a new coach), as well as scrimmages, as Bombay showed faith in Goldberg as his starter, leaving the fast glove on the bench. However what really shows her quality is the final against Iceland, where she comes in for the final penalty in the shoot-out against Gunnar Stahl (the leading scorer in the tournament) and despite having player no other hockey during the tournament, makes the save to win the Junior Goodwill Games. Gaffney has the clutch gene, and she could probably have rose even higher on the list if we saw her play more.
4: Fulton Reed
#44, Defenseman/Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
The other official Bash Brother, Fulton Reed is not a great skater, but improves over time, which stops him falling down this list and allows us to focus on his positives. The other obvious enforcer on the team, Reed’s physicality is huge for the Ducks and his almost telepathic link with Portman creates a deadly combination. But then to finish everything off, he has the mother of all slapshots, which (if you’re smart) you just get out of the way of if you value your body. But more than that too, having appeared to be somewhat of a loner before joining the team, Fulton appears to become one of the most loyal to the Ducks, who really become like a family to him.
3: Greg Goldberg
#33, Goaltender/Defenseman – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
Who would have thought that Goldberg of all people would end up in my top 3? Certainly not me as I started putting this list together, but he just kept rising. As a keeper, he was capable, though i still think that he was lucky for Bombay to keep loyal to him over Gaffney for so long. However as a back-up, he is more than capable. But what really pushed him up the list was his development under Coach Orion, which saw him become a defenseman, a position where he really excelled. While his skating still may not have been the best, he become a capable enough defenseman to post a shut-out against the Varsity, while also using his physicality to become an unofficial Bash Brother. Perhaps 3 is a bit higher than he should have ended, but his solid defending and ability to cover between the sticks if Gaffney was unavailable gives him a slight push over some of his teammates.
2: Guy Germaine
#00, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
You can be forgiven for not having Guy so high on your list as the movies never really give him the focus he deserves. The final member of District 5’s Oreo Line, Germaine is the most natural and talented skater on the District 5 Ducks team and remains one of their best players throughout the trilogy. He does unfortunately get targeted in a number of games, leading to him leaving some games early with injury, but when on the ice he is a natural goal scorer, and it’s telling that the District 5 Ducks wanted him to take the penalty to defeat the Hawks.
1: Adam Banks
#99, Forward – District 5 Ducks, Team USA, Eden Hall Ducks
He was the star of the Hawks and became the star of the Ducks. It’s telling of Banks’ quality that he was the only one of the Ducks to make the Varsity team in D3, whereas the rest were the junior varsity team. Being such a talented skater makes Banks a target and it’s no surprise to see him the most frequently targeted player on the ice. He may not have initially wanted to join the Ducks (understandable given he was the star of the best team and was now being asked to join a team of questionable quality) and does have some moments where he is put at odds with his teammates, but is never the aggressor in these circumstances so this doesn’t count against him and secures him the top spot in the list.
Do you agree with this list? If not, what would your rankings be?
Ducks Fly Together!