Our Community Has Spoken: The Definitive Mighty Ducks Power Rankings
In the last two weeks, we’ve been harnessing the collective power of a community of ’90s kids to create an end-all, be-all power ranking of 19 of the Mighty Ducks. There are legitimate differences of opinion in regards to which Ducks are better than others and I thought it would be fun to put an end to the bickering with one definitive list, created by combining results of a simple survey we posted.
Each survey participant ranked all 19 Ducks from all three movies, with 19 points assigned to the top-ranked Duck, 18 to the second and so forth. We collected 44 total responses and I’m proud to present the first ever SpreeGoogs community power rankings. To celebrate the spirit of online community that is represented in these rankings, I also asked 10 of the community members who voted to help me write the final top 11 list, with each person taking a single Duck. To avoid biasing the generous readers who helped me with writing the list, I gave them very little direction about what to write, so what you’re seeing is pure, unfiltered nostalgia. The authors are listed for each entry, so if you have any issues with what they say, bring it up in the comments.
Below are the final rankings of each of the Mighty Ducks. Next to their name is the average ranking (remember first earn 19 and last earn 1, so higher numbers are better) so you can see how spread apart they were.
1. Adam Banks (17.84)
by Jeff E.
Adam ‘Cake Eater’ Banks is the bright spot amongst a motley crew of hockey wannabes. Banksy was clearly the most talented of the ducks. Adam provided the team with skills and hockey knowledge while the rest of the team was there for comedy. It’s hard to imagine an Oilers team, in the ’80s without Gretzky, and the same goes for the Ducks without Banks. Look past the career plagued by injury and you have a first ballet Pee-Wee hockey hall of famer. “I woke up… And the pain was gone.”
2. Charlie Conway (17.36)
by Rebekah H. (Rebekah also runs an awesome food blog called PDXfoodlove)
A group of skilled athletes might go through the motions of a sport, standing some chance of success, but without a unifying force they aren’t really a team. It’s why All-Star games are kind of boring, and it’s also why a wise Duck-drafter would pick Charlie Conway at the first opportunity. Conway is a stickler for ethics and hard work. He puts the team and his standards before all else – in multiple cases, even before the will of the coach. And what happens? The team follows suit, and they are all better for his influence. He’s like an automatic upgrade for all the other players on the team.
3. Fulton Reed (15.55)
by Kurtis K. (Kurtis is a frequent contributor to The Undercard, a SpreeGoogs-approved music blog)
A bit of a project pick here, but probably the safest of the two (Luis Mendoza being the other, who didn’t make this list. Mendoza outside of the top 11 in a real draft would be a steal BTW). The focus of Reed’s talents shifted from his powerful shot in the first movie to his Bash Brother-ness in the final two. Taking those two skills into account, if Reed works on his skating ability (a clear weakness in the first movie) he could be an elite defender with offensive upside.
You can debate how much of it was loyalty to Goldberg vs. sexism, but it was dumb.
Thought experiment: Was anyone surprised when Julie the Cat shut down the leading goal scorer in the Junior Goodwill Games? Was anyone surprised when Julie the Cat was named the starter day one at Eden Hall in D-3?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, stop trolling. For the rest of you, here’s the quintessential Julie moment: the first two periods of the JV/Varsity game at the end of D-3.
From what I can tell, the puck was in the Ducks’ zone for roughly 36 of those 40 minutes. And they didn’t score once, because she’s Julie Gaffney, Bangor, Maine. She can down an entire tray of donuts and still look kind of hot in goalie pads. And Bombay is probably kind of sexist.
5. Dean Portman (12.50)
by Zach McVicker
There’s a lot to like about Dean Portman – so much so that I put him at No. 3 on my personal Duck power rankings behind Banks and Conway. Where would the team have been without him in D2 and D3? His size and energy were the key to matching Iceland’s and the varsity squad’s physicality, and most late Ducks rally began with a lot of Portman yelling and screaming to get everyone pumped up and then him laying out a few opposing skaters to get some momentum going. Plus, he wears bandanas, listens to heavy metal and he shattered that one varsity ginger’s body and spirit by flipping him into the glass – all positives in my book. My only critiques: he’s not much of an offensive threat and spends too much time in the penalty box. Enough nitpicking, though, and instead let’s watch a video of him being a boss.
6. Greg Goldberg (12.14)
by Greg J.
His path may not have been gloried, going from starting goalie for District 5 to backup goalie for Eden Hall’s junior varsity, but Greg Goldberg is still a valued commodity on this team. The Junior Goodwill Games gold medalist has plenty of heart to make up for what he doesn’t have in talent. In less than a season at Eden Hall, Goldberg transformed into the team’s top defenseman after losing his spot as starting goalie to Julie Gaffney. You can’t go wrong with Goldberg in your backcourt, and let’s not forget, he scored the winning goal against Eden Hall’s varsity. Not bad for a non-scorer.
7. Jesse Hall (11.43)
by Anthony B.
Reggie Miller, Chad Ochocinco, Mike Tyson, Jesse Hall. When asked about the most prolific trash talkers in sports, these names immediately come to mind. Jesse Hall, despite his only being a child, could strike fear into an opponent without even lacing up his skates. His tough, fast-talking nature gave him an edge rarely seen in pee-wee hockey, making him an undeniable force to be reckoned with.
One of our earliest introductions to Hall’s bad-boy tendencies came when the team met Coach Bombay for the first time during an intrasquad scrimmage in the middle of a frozen Minnesota pond. Hall quickly stepped in to defend his team and his turf by telling this strange new suit to go back to where he came from. This kind of tenacity simply cannot be taught. Add to that his champion’s work ethic displayed in D2, where Jesse is found sharpening his skills in a roller hockey game on a rugged inner-city basketball court, and you have yourself one tough, gritty winner. Simply put, Jesse Hall is no cake eater.
8. Guy Germaine (11.27)
by Callie N.
With Guy Germaine, the name of the game is consistency. And yes, sometimes when you’re consistently a strong team player and super quiet, you get overlooked. But make no mistake, folks, Guy Germaine is a powerhouse forward. Before Coach Bombay picks Charlie to take the penalty shot at the end of the original film, Guy is actually his teammate’s choice to take the shot. His entire team has faith in him. Connie has faith in him! Their relationship at least somewhat prevails throughout all three films, which is a further testament to his consistency and maturity as a player and a person.
9. Connie Moreau (10.52)
by Carp (Carp was also an original SpreeGoogs guest blogger and has been a valued member of this community for more than two years)
The tomboy is not an unfamiliar stock character in lovable-misfits-do-big-things movies; nor is the girly girl: Both typically get played for cheap laughs, then enjoy scant other character development as they fade into the background (with some exceptions — see “Little Giants”). Connie Moreau, though, somehow skated past the pigeonhole. Sure, her femininity was acknowledged by means of her boyfriend — the quietly talented, supremely milquetoast Guy Germaine — but that was never what defined her (though, perhaps, “being Connie Moreau’s boyfriend” was what ultimately defined poor Guy). She was not Connie Moreau, girl. She was Connie Moreau, hockey player.
In terms of pure skills, Moreau was solid, if unspectacular. She didn’t possess the show-stopping ability of an Adam Banks or Fulton Reed, but she rose above the “good for a girl” backhanded compliment that so often gets passed out. She scored points — be them goals or assists — on screen multiple times, even stepping up on the global stage with a momentum-changing goal at the beginning of the third period in the Junior Goodwill Games final against Iceland. A nimble skater and positive influence on the bench, Connie was an asset to Bombay’s bunch.
Though she flexed her muscles while carrying around her doting boyfriend for three movies, Connie was never stronger than when confronting Olaf Sanderson in D2 after an attempted cheap shot. She could have used the incident as a beacon of female empowerment or a chance to make a quip about breaking a nail; instead, she let her character shine through.
She might have been a lady. But dammit, Connie Moreau was a Duck.
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, unsubstantiated rumors linking the author and the actress who portrayed Moreau were published on the information site Wikipedia. While the author still thinks it’s kind of awesome, he wants to deny these rumors in the event this somehow finds its way to said actress and note that no bias went into the writing of this piece. Unless she’s down with that at which point he has a phone number he’d be happy to share.
10. Lester Averman (10.07)
by Adam Bonefeste
The Mighty Ducks trilogy is a comedy series. It’s about laughing with your friends more than it’s about celebrating hockey victories, which is great news for Averman, because his game is all comedic punch. He’s kind of a weird fit in a movie about sports because he doesn’t appear to be athletic, but he’s perfect for a comedy movie because he’s always looking for the most sarcastic response to whatever is happening. Seriously, the man wore glasses under his helmet while he played hockey. If that’s not worthy of a broken-glass-ceiling celebration, I don’t know what is.
In all seriousness, how could a man who contributed next to nothing on the ice for three movies stay in such a prominent role on the team? When the Ducks montaged together at the beginning of D2, who did Charlie and Jesse chase down first? Averman. And in a clear depiction of who was and was not an athlete, Charlie and Jesse skated around in hockey gear while Averman appropriately remained in his movie ticket-taker outfit. He obviously has what sports analysts like to call “intangibles.” But really, he’s inspiration for an entire generation of awkward teenagers who want to be sports stars. Do you honestly think Brian Scalabrine would have become a household name if it weren’t for Averman’s brilliance?
11. Russ Tyler (9.89)
by Frank B. (Frank regularly contributes to SpreeGoogs under the username Hardamullin)
Russ is the hotshot from the streets of LA, who (as kids from the hood are wont to do) played “schoolyard puck” with his boys and joins the team after talking smack to Jesse Hall for much of the 2nd movie and eventually challenging the Ducks to a showdown in the streets. But of course his secret weapon is the knucklepuck. When it came down to crunch time against Iceland, sneaking Russ in as the goalie in Goldberg jersey and unleashing the fury of the knucklepuck was a trick play up there with the best in Ducks history. Who can forget this moment?
A side note, other than Charlie Conway, you’d have to say that real-life Russ Tyler went on to enjoy the most fruitful acting career post-Ducks, as he’s starred on “Kenan and Kel” been a mainstay on SNL for the last half-decade, so that adds to the awesomeness of his Ducks character.
He’s pretty much a one-dimensional player but a major offensive threat. When Russ gets the puck and an open shot, watch out! Plus, haven’t we all tried the knucklepuck in our backyards or local ice rink at some point? Other than the triple deke I would argue that the knucklepuck is the most replicated Mighty Ducks move out there. If that doesn’t cement Russ Tyler’s lasting legacy and deserved inclusion in the top 10, I don’t know what will.
Congratulations to the 11 Ducks that made our power rankings list. I’d like to give an honorable mention to the Ducks who just missed out on making the official list …
12. Dwayne Robertson (9.70)
13. Luis Mendoza (9.30)
14. Kenny Wu (8.14)
… And here are the ones we all basically forgot.
15. Terry Hall (5.39)
16. Dave Karp (4.23)
17. Tommy Duncan (4.20)
18. Tammy Duncan (4.07)
19. Peter Mark (2.89)
Thanks to everyone who voted in our Mighty Ducks power rankings. An extra special thanks to each of the community members who offered words of wisdom about the Ducks in our top 11. I’ll be back next week with some key learnings from the larger 44-response data set, but for now, tell us what you think in the comments.
If you haven’t voted in the Mighty Ducks power ranking poll, go ahead and click on over. Once we get enough responses, I’ll post an updated ranking.