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The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Is a Wonderful Modern Addition to the Franchise

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer on the ice

Growing up in the ’90s meant that I was subjected to plenty of movies from the late ’80s/early ’90s when I was just a wee babe. Some of those movies were part of The Mighty Ducks franchise, and getting to see a team of ragtag young kids all band together to be a championship-winning team was inspiring.

Jump to 2021, and we’re now back with the Ducks, but they’re not who we remember. What works with the original team, led by Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estévez), is that they’re underdogs who are there because they love hockey. It isn’t about winning; it’s about being a team, and that’s where Disney+’s Mighty Ducks: Game Changers series found its sweet spot with the Don’t Bothers.

When we first enter to the series, we see what the Mighty Ducks have become: an elite co-ed hocket team that is all about excellence. But when Evan (Brady Noon) gets let go from the team for not being good enough, his mother Alex (Lauren Graham) lifts his spirits by making a new team based on what Coach T told Evan about hockey: Don’t bother.

While getting to see Gordon Bombay (who owns the Ice Palace where the Don’t Bothers train) fall back in love with hockey and coaching, after being let go from the Ducks for helping a player out financially, is nice, it’s the inclusive group of players on the Don’t Bothers that really bring this show the heart that the original Mighty Ducks movies brought to life.

Rather than JUST having one girl on the team (not that Connie, played by Marguerite Moreau, wasn’t badass growing up), there are three girls, and one of their best players is Sofi (Sway Bhatia). All of the kids of the Don’t Bothers are incredible wholesome, and watching them grow as players and as a team had me cheering and crying on my couch in the same way that The Mighty Ducks movies did growing up.

What’s beautiful about this show is that I never saw a moment where it was about someone’s inability based on gender or sexuality. Everyone is embraced for what makes them unique, and even when they do have their fights (like in the most recent episode, when the team learned that Evan almost went back to the Ducks), they still come together as a team—especially when people like Sam (De’Jon Watts) feel unwanted and unnecessary on the team and they all have to join together to show Sam how much they need him and are friends.

So why write all of this about a sports show on Disney+? Because I want people to watch it. I’m not a big sports person. I like playing them, but I hate watching them. But there was always something about the world of the Mighty Ducks that made you feel included, even if you weren’t a hockey kid. You might not be the one to “slap the biscuit” around, but you’d still be welcome to join the team, and that’s why it’s so important to bring this universe back to our world.

I love that this show is more inclusive than the original movies, and I can’t wait to see where it is headed. I’m sure, by the end, we’ll have Gordon Bombay either coaching the Don’t Bothers or the Ducks, but at least the journey is one that inspires us all to do our best, have fun, and not care so much about winning every single thing we try.

Yes, I did cry multiple times binge-watching the show to catch up, but can you blame me? They’re the Ducks, man!

(image: Disney)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.