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Old 10-23-2022, 03:23 PM
Holland Fan Forever
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The 14 Best Hockey Movies, Ranked
14. D2: The Mighty Ducks
Everything good about "D2: The Mighty Ducks" occurs within the margins of its story. Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) getting injured before his pro career can take off is merely the catalyst for his return to Minnesota youth hockey, but it hints at hockey's sobering realities. Bombay's infatuation with Los Angeles, which manifests the second he takes the Ducks there for an international tournament, is real — and potentially crippling. Bombay doesn't want the Ducks. The Ducks are out of their element. There are moments when "D2" approaches the heartbreak of childhood sports as much as it does its triumphs.

That said, the endless quotability of "D2" is also why the movie makes this list. Sometimes, the best sports teams aren't great. More often than not, they get the job done and they're loveable. From "you lost it for yourself" to Kenan Thompson shooting "knuckle pucks," "D2" is more endearing than its predecessor, and it instills a love for hockey that's hard to shake, even if it's not a movie you grew up with.

7. The Mighty Ducks
There are many movies about hockey. There are far fewer that reshaped professional hockey forever like"The Mighty Ducks."

The 1992 Disney family classic is built from every well-worn cliche in the sports movie textbook. There's a coach who needs redemption, the players are misfits nobody believes in, and predictably, the film's third act is a non-stop string of crowd-pleasing payoffs. None of that's inherently bad. "The Mighty Ducks" embraces cliché and fills its tropes with enough humanity to avoid the simple and saccharine. Remember, this is a movie that opens with its hero, Coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), getting a DUI (and it was meant to be even darker).
"The Mighty Ducks" doesn't make the world of youth hockey magical so much as it finds the magic within it. That's why the film genuinely looks at league district lines and lets Coach Bombay be a man whose spirit is worn but whose hockey mind is sharp. "The Mighty Ducks" may be for kids, but the adult world which surrounds its childhood activities is real and lived in.
Perhaps that's why "The Mighty Ducks" inspired the name of an NHL franchise. Stephen Herek's film shaped the concept of what hockey is and could be for the millennial generation from those who watch it to those who play it. Its impact can be seen on the ice every day of the NHL season. That's the mark of a movie with staying power.
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