The Mighty Hawks Or, Why The Mighty Ducks Are Actually A Bunch Of Dicks
It started, as so many epic hockey sagas do, on a Minnesota pond.
A lovable, ragtag group of youth hockey players overcame incredible odds to secure a memorable emotional rollercoaster of a magnificent season. Fortunately for us, the cameras were rolling in the scintillating 1992 hockey documentary The Mighty Ducks.
But unfortunately for us, they were following the wrong damn team. Re-watch the film if you have 101 minutes; you’ll see for yourself that the Ducks were a bunch of dicks.
Those Evil Little Shits
In 1992, the Mighty Ducks inspired the fans around the world with an improbable run to the Division II Minnesota State Pee Wee Hockey Championship, but it’s time the truth about those little shits finally came out.
The Ducks had an infamous penchant for pulling rude, often grotesque, and even violent “pranks” on unsuspecting, innocent bystanders. At one point, they tricked a local resident into a placing his bare hand into a purse filled with dog feces.
“The kind of determination you need to collect the dog shit, plan it all out, that’s the work of a sociopath, right?” asked a clearly still-troubled Ryan Clarkson, a left-winger for the rival Hawks.
In another harrowing incident, several Ducks were rollerblading out-of-control through a public mall, at one point knocking an elderly woman into a fountain and flatly refusing to stop even to see if she was okay. Watch the doc; this moment is clearly visible.
In addition to their wanton acts of malice, the Ducks routinely demonstrated an abhorrent lack of respect for service people, leaving raw eggs strewn across the local ice rink that was shared by several Peewee hockey teams and figure skating classes. Congratulations on your unorthodox training methods; now clean up after yourself, you dicks.
The Tragic Tale
Most people who have seen the documentary do not realize (and, really how could they? The movie so myopically and relentlessly touted the Ducks as unimpeachable heroes) the tragic underpinnings behind the Hawks’ season. Hawks star Adam Banks had a little sister, Winnie, who had been diagnosed with leukemia prior to the beginning of the season.
“We used to chant her nickname before games, so she’d know we were thinking about her,” recalls Banks. “Win! Win! Win! It really cheered her up, especially on her particularly bad days at the hospital.”
“Wait, did people think it was some self-congratulatory victory cry?” asked Banks. “My God, you can do anything with fancy video editing.”
The team had spent the entire offseason fundraising for Winnie Banks’ treatment through local businesses, each of whom pledged a certain amount of money for each goal the Hawks scored that year.
The expensive experimental treatments were the genesis of Coach Reilly of the Hawks’ famous catchphrase: “It’s not worth winning if you can’t win big.” The phrase was actually coined by Winnie herself, as a sign that she would one day walk out of that hospital on her own; the statement galvanized the entire community.
The entire community, of course, except for the win-only dickish members of the Ducks of District 5.
A Melding of Worlds
The boosters did what they could for young Winnie, but the treatments ultimately bankrupted the Banks family, who were forced to sell their home and move to District 5. Rather than being welcomed with open arms, young Adam, who was there by no fault of his own, was treated coldly by his new teammates.
Desperate for an influx of cash to potentially save his daughter, Adam’s father, Phillip Banks, met with the only bookie in Minnesota willing to take action on youth hockey. He placed his life savings on the Hawks to win the championships.
Though this subplot is not mentioned in the documentary, how else could one explain the fact that Phillip Banks was in the crowd wearing a Hawks jacket, even though his son was no longer on the team?
A Justified Ending
With the Hawks leading deep into the championship game, several players on the Hawks began to realize the toxic influence Phillip Banks would continue to be on Adam, and they hatched a plan to ruin him financially and thus allow Adam and Winnie to emancipate themselves and earn the government assistance they so desperately needed.
The Hawks then very obviously threw the game. Hawks defensemen literally dove out of the way of Fulton’s slapshot, despite the fact that they wore pads and helmets. They stood idly and watched for nearly a full minute as a figure-skating Ducks player twirled before scoring. They even let all five Ducks in a “Flying V” enter their zone without so much as challenging for the puck.
“We weren’t being that subtle about taking a dive, to be honest,” said one Hawks player. “We were kind of surprised there wasn’t an investigation.”
With the Ducks hoisting the trophy, Adam Banks celebrated, but it was not an athletic triumph. The jubilation stemmed was a Pyrrhic victory for a child placed in an impossible situation, caught between a maniacal father and a group of teammates who, it should be mentioned, were a bunch of fucking dicks.