The Mighty Ducks – then and now

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Although it’s been more than twenty five years since the first movie in the trilogy came out, the memorable Mighty Ducks movies will always have a warm place in our hearts. If you were born in the 80s (and even afterward) Charlie, Fulton, Goldberg and the other were definitely a part of your childhood.

The story centers around an arrogant but talented lawyer Gordon Bombay (portrayed by Emilio Estevez), who is sentenced to community service after driving under the influence. As a part of his service, he is assigned to coach a failing children’s hockey team. Bombay, who was himself a hockey prodigy before being disillusioned by the game, sees the team’s’ potential and decided to take them under his wing. At the beginning, the failing team and their new coach do not get along.


Over time, Bombay manages to slowly gain their trust and eventually, after many turmoils and challenges, the Mighty Ducks became a championship-winning team. With the exception of Estevez, who was already a well-known actor in 1980’s classics such as St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club, The cast consisted of mainly unknown child actors. The movie was a surprise hit for Disney and it spawned two sequels detailing the Ducks’ journey in the league.

Following its major success, a National Hockey League team chose to name itself the Anaheim Ducks after the series. Some of the trilogy’s stars went on to become film and Television regulars such as Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek, Fringe) and Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer, Queen of the damned). Today, although considered a modern classic of 90’s sports genre, the Disney franchise also stands alone a children’s tale of friendship and aspiration. Here’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite characters from the movies and to see what they up to now.

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Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson)

Although Jake Gyllenhaal was the first choice for the role, the young Canadian-born actor Joshua Jackson eventually portrayed the gifted Hockey player Charlie Conway. Jackson kept on to perform in the next two installments of the series, before sustaining fame in successful TV shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Fringe, and The Affair. The Canadian prodigy also starred in Many Hollywood features including I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions.


Connie (Margaritue Moreau)

The talented actress Had a recurring part throughout the Mighty Ducks series While appearing on notable 90’s TV shows such as Blossom and Boy Meets World. Later, Moreau took a break from acting and earned a B.A from Vassar College in Political Science. After Graduating, she appeared in the cult movie (and later the show) Wet Hot American Summer. Since then, she had several recurring roles and guest appearances, including the successful TV drama Grey’s Anatomy.


Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer)

Before his role as the Mighty Ducks’ big boss Gerald Ducksworth, the German actor was already a pretty known actor in Hollywood and appeared in classic movies including Dirty Harry and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Coming from classical training, Sommer is still an active actor in the business. He appeared in several TV series such as Law and Order and recently played the president in the 2006 X-men movie The Last Stand.


Fulton Reed (Elden Henson)

Born as Elden Ratliff, Henson played the role of Fulton Reed in the Mighty Ducks film trilogy, alongside his brother Garette Ratliff. Although he was initially embarrassed by his role, Henson recently said that he owes his acting career to those movies. Henson attended Emerson College before landing the part of Pollux in the third and fourth installments of the Hunger Games movies. Recently, he is starring as Foggy Nelson in the Television show Daredevil.


Dean Portman (Aaron Lohr)

Lohr played the role of Dean Portman in the second and third installment of the trilogy and was known along with his fellow character Fulton Reed as one of the “Bash Brothers” in the series. Lohr is a graduate from the UCLA school of theater and afterward went on to perform in many off-broadway plays. He played in various TV programs including the highly-successful show The Mentalist while having notable performances in movies such as Rent and Zoe Gone.


Russ Tyler (Kenan Thompson)

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Kenan Thompson’s acting began in his teens when he joined the famous Nickelodeon comedy series All That. He was then cast as the defenseman Russ Tyler and was featured in the two sequels of the series. During his successful career, Thompson became a regular cast member of the cult Comedy show “Saturday Night Live”. He is also known as a gifted voice actor, providing his voice to many animated shows on our screen.


Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez)

Emilio Estevez played the lead role of the Hockey team’s Coach Bombay Gordon. During that time, he was a prominent actor in Hollywood. Active since the 1980’s, Estevez appeared in many well-known features including St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club. He originally came from a family of famous actors, alongside his father Martin Sheen and his brother Charlie. Today, Estevez still maintains a steady career in Hollywood both as an actor and as a director.


Michele MacKay (Kathryn Erbe)

Before appearing in Mighty Ducks as Michelle the team’s tutor, Erbe was already a distinguished actor, appearing in many theater groups in New York. She then played the Tony-winning A Streetcar Named Desire. After appearing in the movie. She rose to fame when she played death row inmate Shirley Bellinger in the HBO award-winning OZ. Erbe continued her golden streak when she won the lead role of Alexandra Eames in the Law & Order spin-off Criminal Intent.


Les Averman (Matt Doherty)

Originally from Harvey, Illinois, Matthew Doherty started his acting career at a very young age. Before appearing in the Mighty Ducks series as Lester “Les” Averman, Doherty had already played in Numerous films, including the Blockbuster hit Home Alone. According to the actor, he originally auditioned for the role of Fulton Reed, but eventually was chosen for Lester’s role. Later, Doherty graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater and secured a role in the show “Boston Public” shortly afterward.


Jesse Hall (Brandon Quintin Adams)

Brandon Quintin Adams first became known when he played both young Michael and the role of Zeke in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker in 1988. That year, Adams won a young artist award for that role. He then went to appear in other successful shows such as Quantum Leap and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before portraying the role of prankster Jesse Hall in the second installment. Today, Adams remained in the movie industry and still pursuing other roles.


Coach Wolf Stansson (Carsten Norgaard)

Originally from Denmark, Norgaard played the character of coach Wolf “The Dentist” Stinton in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Known for his enigmatic, fearsome look, Norgaard then continued to play similar roles in various feature films and TV shows including a Frankenstein adaptation for Television. These days, he is most famous for his role as Rudolf Wegener in the Amazon’s well-received series “The Man in the High Castle”, based on the popular book by Philip K. Dick.


Goldberg (Shawn Weiss)

Although now he is all grown up, Mighty Ducks fans will always remember Shaun Weiss as Goldberg the frightened goalkeeper. Afterward, He played as a similar kid in a comedy named Heavyweights. Since then, Weiss acted in numerous in several TV programs such Drillbit Taylor, MTV’s Undressed and the cult comedy Freaks and Geeks. In 2014 he opened up a Kickstarter campaign for himself, but unfortunately, it failed as only $210 out of the requested $20000 were donated.


Tommy (Danny Tamberelli)

Danny Appeared as Tommy Duncan in the movie. After The Mighty Ducks, Danny starred with his fellow cast member Aaron Schwarz in the beloved Nickelodeon show Pete and Pete. Tamberelli later chose to pursue academics and attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Many of us know him today as a panelist on the show “Figure It Out”. In addition to all of his many occupations, Danny Tamberelli is also a member of a sketch comedy group.


Terry Hall (Jussie Smollett)

After Smollett portrayed Terry Hall in the franchise, he went to star in at TV show called On Our Own in the mid-1990’s. Afterward, he chose to step away from the limelight for a few years to pursue other interests. Today, Jussie Smollett is well known for his role as Jamal on the revered series Empire. The role was a major comeback for him into the spotlight, which in addition earned him a record deal.


Peter (J.D Daniels)

Attitude was the middle name of Ducks player Peter Mark, which was portrayed by the talented J.D Daniels. During a pivotal scene in the movie, he convinced the team to walk out on Coach Bombay before a match, after hearing him insulting their team during a conversation. Daniels switched to voice work after the film and, including voicing the character of Arnold in Hey Arnold’s first episode. Nowadays, Daniels is on Hiatus from the show business.


 Coach Reilly (Lane Smith)

Lane Smith was the classic, perfect casting for the over-achieving Hawks coach Jack Reilly. Smith then became related to the Superman franchise, as he was chosen to play Lois Lane and Clark Kent’s editor in the TV-series Lois and Clark. In addition to that, he had many roles in movies such as From Earth to Moon, My Cousin Vinny and many others. After appearing in many other successful movies, Lane Smith passed away in 2005.


Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso)

Vincent Larusso played Adam Banks, who was the Ducks’ rival team hockey star before he was forced to join them during the season. Initially, Banks was considered an outcast by his teammates due to his privileged status and was often called “cake eater, but later earned their respect and was a major contributor to the team. After the trilogy, Larusso took a long hiatus from acting, graduating from Boston University but since then made a few appearances on TV.


Guy Germaine (Garret Henson)

Henson appeared in the movie as Guy Germaine, a talented player in the ducks’ hockey team who later dated Connie (Marguerite Moreau). Unknown to many, Garret Henson actually acted alongside his brother Elden, who played Fulton Reed in the movies. Henson continued to play in many other shows including NCIS and Melrose Place. However, these days Henson has decided to focus on filmmaking, and a short drama he directed was premiered in a Brooklyn film festival.


Tammy (Jane Plank)

One of the two female players on the team, Tammy Duncan, a figure skating prodigy, was recruited by the Mighty Ducks due to her amazing skills. However, during games, Tammy never played real Hockey but used her figure skating skills instead as a diversion against the other teams. Although she retired from acting, Jane Plank, who played Tammy Duncan, is still in show business and is writing and performing her own songs. She usually plays around Minnesota.


Lewis (M.C Gainey)

Michael Connor Gainey is one of those actors whose their face you’ll never forget, with his long beard and giant-like physique. While he played Lewis the Limousine driver in the movie, Gainey is fairly recognized and cast as a villain character in his other performances on Film and TV. Among them are his roles as Swamp Thing in 1997’s Con Air, Tom Friendly on NBC’s Lost and as Big John Brittle in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.


Hans (Joss Ackland)

Ackland was already a highly respected English actor at the time. He previously starred in several movies like The Hunt For Red October and Lethal Weapon 2 before appearing as Hans, the ice hockey store owner and Gordon Bombay’s mentor and friend. Over time, he eventually became one of the most active actors in Hollywood, appearing in more than 130 performances in film and TV during his career, The 84-year-old Ackland is still active today.


Luis Mendoza (Mike Vitar)

Appearing in the second and the third movies in the Mighty Ducks’ trilogy, Mike Vitar portrayed the Miami-born forward player Luis Mendosa. After the film was released in 1998, he tried to pursue other roles in film and Television but eventually decided to retire from acting completely. Vitar chose to be a service to the community and after exhausting training, he became a firefighter. Mike Vitar now lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Kim and their three children.


Dave Karp (Aaron Schwartz)

A New-York native, Schwarz’s role of the Ducks’ defense player Dave Karp was actually his first movie appearance ever. He then went on to play in the TV-Series Pete and Pete before temporarily retiring from the movie industry. After coming back from his 15-year hiatus, Schwarz acted in numerous short films before landing the role of Vania in the cult show “Gossip Girl”. Recently, Schwarz appeared in the second installment of Guardians of the Galaxy.


Julie Gaffney (Colombe Jacobsen)

No one can forget Julie. The blonde and beautiful goal-keeper, played by actress Colombe Jacobsen. Julie joined the iconic movie only for its two sequels: “D2: The Mighty Ducks” which came out in 1994 and “D3: The Mighty Ducks” which came out two years later, in 1996. Today Jacobsen is working in the food industry and writes a food related blog.