The Mighty Ducks films were among the most influential sports stories of the 1990s. And the trilogy, which follows the rise of a peewee hockey team, has remained popular with fans. Do you know if Matt Doherty knew to skate when he filmed for his role in Mighty Ducks?
When he was cast in the first Mighty Ducks film, actor Matt Doherty, who played Les Averman, didn’t know how to skate or play hockey. He was captain of his high school hockey team and had been offered a scholarship to play in college when they shot the third film.
How Did Actors Exaggerate their Hockey Playing Abilities in the Auditions?
Almost every actor who played a main character in the first two Mighty Ducks films lied about their skating abilities when auditioning. To put it another way, almost all of them lied — or exaggerated the truth.
Fortunately, the director and producers anticipated these lies and organized hockey boot camps to help the actors improve their skills before filming. All of that practice paid off. Or, at the very least, we were impressed by the abilities of the on-screen players. (Source: Ask)
The Original Mighty Ducks Script
Before Disney got involved, The Mighty Ducks script told a much darker story with fewer comedic elements. Originally, the film focused on Gordon Bombay, an ex-NHL player who, while battling alcoholism, sought vengeance on his former coach by guiding the opposing team.
Instead, Disney chose a less intense version of the story. Bombay is a lawyer who gets a DUI and is sentenced to community service, which he fulfills by coaching a peewee hockey team. Certainly more in line with the Disney brand, right? However, this studio brought us everything from Mufasa’s death in The Lion King (1994) to the dystopian ruins of the Emerald City in Return to Oz (1985), so they aren’t afraid to go dark. We’re glad Mighty Ducks evolved into the coming-of-age comedy we know and love today. (Source: Ask)
The Story of the Sequels
The original film’s ending, which sees Coach Bombay played by Emilio Estevez, leaving for minor-league tryouts but promising to return for the following season, may seem like the ideal setup for a sequel. But that was not the intention when it was written. The first Mighty Ducks film grossed $50 million at the box office, but no one expected that modest success to turn into a film franchise.
However, Disney’s then-CEO, Michael Eisner, saw a sequel as a way to cross-promote the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, a National Hockey League (NHL) team he was established in Southern California. All this to say, without Eisner’s vision, the Mighty Ducks would have been a one-and-done film. Before the 2005-2006 NHL season, Anaheim dropped Mighty from its official name, but the film’s legacy lives on, even in professional sports. (Source: Ask)
No Lady, A Duck
Marguerite Moreau, who plays Connie Moreau in all three films of The Mighty Ducks trilogy, admitted to having a great time on set. Moreau revealed in a 2014 interview with Time how much she enjoyed being one of the only girls on the ice, especially during the filming of the first film.
Moreau was much bigger than the boys during Mighty Ducks, so she enjoyed teasing and pushing them around. Of course, by the time D2 and D3 arrived, the boys had experienced their growth spurts. We’ll never forget Connie fondly for her catchphrase, But I’m no lady — I’m a duck! line. (Source: Ask)
Image from IMDB