A trilogy of Disney films where a bunch of misfit kids play hockey.
In the first movie (released 1992; called Champions in some countries), Jerkass hot-shot attorney Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is sentenced to community service after driving while intoxicated. His duty is to coach a rowdy pee-wee hockey team simply called "District 5", a team so down on their luck they don't even have a nickname. As the cold Bombay softens up, his bond with the kids grows and the team is renamed "The Ducks" after Bombay's employer Mr. Ducksworth. The Ducks eventually make it to the finals, where they face the Hawks, the team Bombay once played for as a kid; in fact, the coach of the Hawks is still the same man, Jack Reilly. Bombay became disillusioned with the sport when he cost the Hawks the championship with a missed penalty shot. The Ducks win the championship, and Gordon's renewed passion for hockey leads him to try out for the minors.
In the second movie (released 1994), a year after the championship game, Gordon is playing in the minor leagues, but his dream is shot down by a knee injury (from a cheap shot by a frustrated opponent no less). He is then approached to coach Team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games. Unsurprisingly, Gordon recruits some of his Ducks, along with five other players to represent Team USA. Team USA proves to be a force to be reckoned with, but fame and fortune get to the team, especially Bombay, as they are pummeled in a game against Team Iceland. Soon after Bombay learns that the game is not about celebrity but about having fun, he is able to put the team back on track, and they compete as the Ducks in a re-match against Team Iceland that will decide the championship.
In the third movie (released 1996), the Ducks are awarded scholarships to the famed Eden Hall Academy, the high school Bombay attended. They also get a new coach in the form of Ted Orion. Orion irritates Captain Charlie Conway with his less-lenient teaching methods ("Your little duck tricks won't work anymore!" Orion remarks), switching of the teammates' positions, and by renaming them the Warriors. The team also faces adversity from the varsity team, as the former Ducks were accepted into the Academy instead of their younger siblings. After Conway becomes more accepting of his new coach following some self-reflection and a pep talk by Bombay, Orion also softens up a little, and re-renames the team the Ducks, and the stage is set for a game against the varsity team.
Despite also being by Disney, the eponymous animated series has nothing to do with the films.
The first movie was added to Netflix on July 1st, 2017.
These films contain examples of:
- Academic Athlete: Required by Coach Orion."Eden Hall Academy requires you to maintain a "C" average to compete. I believe that's a bad rule. I don't want any "C" players on my team. It's B's or better, or you're riding the pine pony."
- Accidental Athlete: Fulton, by way of Broken Glass Penalty. The guy can't even skate when he first becomes a Duck.
- Achilles' Heel: The Ducks in every movie often play porous defense, to the degree that this is actually a plot point in the third movie while the more athletic Julie eventually supplants long-standing Goldberg as the team's netminder.
- Advertised Extra: Emilio Estevez gets top billing in the third movie, but Bombay barely appears at all.
- All of Them: In the first movie, when Bombay goes to the school to talk to the team, he presents a list of the students he wants to see to the principal. What Bombay doesn't know yet is that the entire team is in detention because they had been in science class together and got into an atom fight with each other, then collectively quacked at the principal.Bombay: [presents list of the students on the team] Can you tell me where I can find each of them, please?
Principal: They are in Room 223.
Bombay: [incredulously] ALL of them???
Principal: [flares eyebrows angrily] ALL of them.
- Almost Kiss: During the round up in the second movie, Connie and Guy are inches away from a kiss when the other Ducks distract them. Guy acts disappointed even though they kissed in the first movie and presumably have been kissing since then.Guy: I was this close!
- Ambiguous Syntax: When Gordon first asks Fulton to join the team, Fulton tells he can't. Gordon thinks he's afraid of playing, until Fulton clarifies that he physically can't; he doesn't know how to skate.
- Amoral Attorney: Bombay becomes one, but in a subversion of the trope, his boss doesn't like it. Which makes sense; Bombay goes out of his way to antagonize judges and prosecutors, who he has to be able to work with.
- Analogy Backfire: When Dean Buckley compares Eden Hall Academy to an ant colony.Buckley: There's one queen in there, and the rest are dedicated worker ants. Everyone pulls their weight; nobody complains. There's harmony and growth, same here at Eden Hall. Only you are the workers, the backbone.
Russ: And you're the queen?
- Animal Motifs: Invoked by Gordon when he unveils the team name in the first film. He specifically cites their agility, intelligence, the fact they fly in "perfect formation", and fight together as a flock. This foreshadows/references the fact that despite going against conventionally superior hockey teams (bigger and stronger), they manage to win through ingenuity and teamwork. The duck motif is best epitomized by their "Flying V" formation. This is also in effect with the Hawks, who are known for being aggressive and violent predators; the team is very aggressive and violent on the ice and bully the Ducks like predators off the ice (most noticeable when McGill, Lawson, and Banks corner some of the Ducks in an alley; the three circle the Ducks like birds of prey).
- Artistic License Physics:
- The knucklepuck simply wouldn't work. The sheer lack of any aerodynamics would result in the puck harmlessly fluttering at the goal rather than improbably flying through the air, as many hockey playing viewers likely discovered in the early 1990's.
- There's also Fulton's slapshot. It moves fast enough to ricochet around the arena and STILL knock out Mr. Tibbles, and yet in the tracking shots from behind it appears to be moving all of three miles an hour.
- Artistic License Sports: A lot of illegal hits by both teams. Also, no youth league anywhere would let kids play without face cages. And if the Ducks really snuck into the playoffs as the final seed, they should play the league-leading Hawks first, not last.
- The referees make no effort to control the shenanigans players get up to. Prime example: between plays, an opposing player reaches out and knocks Jesse's helmet off. A referee restrains Jesse before he can retaliate, meaning the ref saw what happened.
- The most egregious illegal hit in the first movie is the checking from behind that a Duck suffered in the first game, though a whistle was blown right afterward, indicating it may have been called. Still, checking from behind is something that in addition to being a match penalty, deserves a long suspension at Pee-Wee level, if not a season-long disqualification.
- The worst example, though, may be in the third film. One of the players levels another (it may have been a Duck on a varsity player) well after the puck has been passed (a hit that would definitely draw a major penalty and likely a suspension), but on seeing it the dean turns to the man next to him and says "A legal check..." It most certainly was not.
- Fulton comes to a complete stop during his turn in the climactic D2 shootout; in real life, a player must stay in motion once he controls the puck.
- The Iceland player who slashed Banks' arm after Banks scored the Ducks' lone goal in the teams' first meeting in D2 would probably have been sent home for the remainder of the Junior Goodwill Games in real life, with more discipline likely forthcoming.
- Speaking of the Junior Goodwill Games, there never was such a thing. The real Goodwill Games faded into oblivion in the early 2000s.
- And, of course, all of the antics the US team gets up to in the 2nd period of the rematch. To put it mildly, "roping" would probably garner more than 2 minutes...
- In D3, Portman shows up during the second intermission of the JV-Varsity Showdown, signed scholarship in hand, and takes the ice with the Ducks for the third period. This would not be allowed normally, as coaches must provide the referee with a roster of dressed players prior to the game, and no player not named on the roster can take part after the game has begun.
- Iceland isn't a known hockey power in the slightest. A more suitable final opponent for Team USA in D2 would've been either Russia or Canada, their two biggest rivals in hockey. To be fair, Team USA did play and defeat both of them. note
- Attack Pattern Alpha: The Flying V. Used so much that opponents catch on.
- Author Appeal: The films are about hockey because scriptwriter Steven Brill is a hockey fan.
- Bait-and-Switch: When Gordon sees Hans for the first time in years and start talking about his Pee Wee career:Hans: You scored 198 goals that year Gordon. It was a shame you quit. You-
Gordon: (annoyed) could have gone all the way, yeah.
Hans: No. You really loved to play.
- There's another one later after Fulton joins the Ducks. During warmups, they make a point of showing off his powerful but inaccurate slap shot to intimidate the other team. By the time Fulton gets the puck in actual gameplay, the opposing team leaps out of the way in fear of getting hit. And then he passes the puck to Guy, who skates right up to the goal and gets the easy shot in.
- Bash Brothers: Dean and Fulton are explicitly called "The Bash Brothers" in D2. Kenny Wu becomes an official "Bash Brother" after standing up to the Iceland player who broke his stick over Banks' wrist. This carries on into D3, where Dean consoles Kenny, calling him "little bash brother" after both were given very questionable penalties.
- Big Damn Heroes: D3 has Gordon Bombay, who saves the Ducks' scholarships with his oratory skills, and Dean Portman, whose sudden return to the Ducks after a long absence brings Fulton Reed back to full power.
- Big Game: The Minnesota state pee-wee championship against the Hawks in D1, the Junior Goodwill Games ice hockey final against Iceland in D2, the match against the Eden Hall varsity team in D3.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: A two-to-one example with the "Bash Brothers", big guys Dean and Fulton, and little guy Kenny Wu, who we find out is no less scrappy than his big "brothers" after learning an important lesson from Russ's friend in D2.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: A mild example when District 5 first learns what their team's going to be named just prior to the Cardinals game.Terry: The Ducks? We're the Ducks?!Peter: Man, what brain-dead jerk came up with that name?Coach Bombay: As a matter of fact, I did. But I didn't have a choice. We're being sponsored.
- Blocking Stops All Damage:
- Totally averted in the first film, where a goalie who tries to stop the puck gets knocked backward into the net by it.
- Sports subversion from the second film, where the opposing team's goalie manages to stop a slap shot from the power hitter. The film spends a few seconds showing the goalie take off his glove showing a massive puck shaped bruise.
- A Bloody Mess: In the third movie, Hans uses ketchup to act like he's just cut himself on his skate sharpener. Charlie isn't fooled for a moment, possibly because Hans has tried this stunt before.
- Blown Across the Room: In the first film, when Fulton uses his slapshot against the Hawks' goalie (who, unlike a goalie from earlier in the movie, actually stays in to block it), it knocks the goalie backwards into the net.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: Bombay and Charlie talk about growing up without their fathers. (Charlie's mom divorced, while Bombay's father died.)
- Book Dumb: Dwayne Robertson, who needs the others to explain what several of the terms the Eden Hall dean uses means.
- Bookends: D1 begins and ends (at least the hockey-related plots) with the Minnesota State Pee-Wee Championship tied at the end of regulation with a kid with a Disappeared Dad awarded a penalty shot after being taken down illegally from behind on a breakaway. The kid gets one last pep talk from the coach who had become his surrogate father, before going out and taking the penalty shot using the triple deke, sending the puck straight for the nearside post. The first difference is that Reilly tells Gordon that if he misses, he'll be letting his coach and his whole team down, while Gordon tells Charlie that win or lose, it's great that they got this far in the first place. The second difference is that Bombay's shot in 1973 bounces out and he falls to his knees in devastation, while Charlie's shot in 1993 glances in for the winning goal to jubilation as Charlie slides on his knees across the ice. The only thing that remains the same afterwards is that both times the Hawks lose.
- Brick Joke: Linda, to whom Charlie is attracted D3, circulating a petition to get the controversial mascot of the Eden Hall Warriors changed. It becomes a wager for the matchup between the freshman and varsity hockey teams, and the change is made official after the freshman team wins the match.
- Broken Aesop: The movie sort of blows its "Have fun and don't take youth sports too seriously" moral when Gordon Rules Lawyers away the Hawks' best player (jerking around an 11-year-old).note
- Possibly mended by the fact that Gordon's boss emphasized that his community service would help Gordon learn "fair play." Gordon's preventing the Hawks from cheating by using a player not in their district. The scene also implies that Adam's father and possibly even Ducksworth are willing to bribe the sports authority.
- The other Aesop, "it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it only matters if you tried hard and had fun," is kind of broken with the way the Ducks always win in the end.
- Hell, the tagline includes, "They'll learn everything about winning!"
- This isn't as much a broken aesop as a slightly bent one: it's shown that, unlike the Hawks, Team Iceland, or the varsity team, the Ducks do have fun on the ice, especially by playing the game their way, while their opponents are more concerned with winning at any cost. As a result, the implication is that the Ducks win because they know it's just a game and are having fun (but still trying to win because that's the point of sports), while the other teams treat it as Serious Business and lose as a result. Truth in Television, as a common refrain from championship squads in pro sports illustrate true camaraderie and a "player's coach" whose leadership strategy straddles competitive energy and fun, while a good portion of Drill Sergeant Nasty win-at-all-costs coaches tend to flame out rather quickly, unable to inspire their team.
- Broken Glass Penalty:
- Butt-Monkey: Adam Banks. Injured in the first two movies, and pulled away from his friends and assigned to a new team in the first and third (and taking all the derision that implies). Sorry, cake eater!
- Calling the Old Man Out: After Banks is carted off the ice on a stretcher having been cross-checked by McGill on orders from Reilly, Bombay realizes just how little Reilly thought of him while he beat himself up over his missed penalty shot for the past 20 years. That leads to this exchange:Reilly: (talking to his team) They score against usnote , they're gonna pay the price. Now don't worry, we're gonna get that one back. (Bombay approaches the Hawks bench) You got something to say to me, Bombay?Bombay: To think I wasted all those years worrying about what you thought. (pause) You're going down, Reilly.
- The Cameo: The trilogy centers around hockey, so obviously, some big-name hockey players - as well as athletes from other sports - appeared in them.
- In the first film, the Ducks take a trip to the Met Center, then the home of the Minnesota North Stars, where they share a brief chat with then-North Stars Basil McRae and Mike Modano. By the time the second film was released, the North Stars had dropped the "North" from their name and moved to Dallas.
- In the second film, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis, and Olympic champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi appear, along with the usual big-name hockey players, those in this film being Chris Chelios, Luc Robitaille, and Cam Neely. Also, some guy named Gretzky.
- In the third film, then-real life Mighty Ducks star Paul Kariya is radio announcer Josh's special guest during the second intermission of the JV/Varsity Showdown.
- Career-Ending Injury: Gordon suffers one near the beginning of D2 during a minor-league game, ending his NHL career before it begins.
- The Casanova: Luis Mendoza. Connie certainly thinks so. And so does Averman. Guy is not so impressed.
- Chekhov's Skill: Bombay's legal training and debating skills come into play even after he starts getting back into hockey.
- In D1, it helps him sell the idea of sponsoring District 5 to Ducksworth as well as recruit both Duncans and Fulton with pitches tailored to each of them (to the more skeptical Tammy he puts the idea of hockey as "figure skating with a stick" while letting the more excited Tommy help pitch it further to his sister; for Fulton he quickly feels out why someone with such a powerful shot isn't already playing hockey and offers to help him get over his barriers).
- In D3, him acting as the Ducks' lawyer gets Eden Hall to reverse their initial decision to revoke their scholarships by implicitly threatening to sue them on the Ducks' behalf for breach of contract.
- In D2, Russ' brother teaches Ken Wu the "stick, gloves, shirt" fighting technique. He then puts it to use against Iceland.
- Child Hater: Bombay at first, which is one reason why he's not thrilled about coaching a pee-wee hockey team. (The other reason is that he's come to hate hockey after what Coach Reilly did to him.) He gets better, though, after working with the Ducks (especially Charlie).
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Some of the players from the first movienote are suddenly gone with no explanation in the sequels. It's particularly noteworthy in the case of one of the players — Jesse's brother, Terry Hall, who's not mentioned at all despite being a very eager member of the team in the first film.
- Jesse Hall falls victim to this in D3 after being the most outspoken Duck in each of the first two films.
- Commander Contrarian: Peter Mark, a Duck in the first film. He leads a mutiny against Bombay, and objects to Charlie taking the championship-winning penalty shot.
- Confusion Fu: What the Ducks rely on. Nobody notices the figure skater has a shot at an empty net, because no one can figure out what she's doing. Fridge Logic dictates that this is the only way the Flying-V can work, either, because by all rights it should succumb to a trap at the blue line: the way to counter it is to have everybody cover the lead man, because the V will go offside if they don't pass to him before reaching the blue line.
- Or do what Iceland did and body-check the entire formation for a turnover and five-man breakaway. (This is a case of Artistic License Sports; hitting anybody but the puck carrier is supposed to be an interference penalty; hitting the entire formation should net several of you at least two minutes in the box).
- Continuity Nod:
- The second movie:
- In the Goldbergs' family deli in D2, There's a picture of Greg with the caption "OUR SON, THE GOALIE". They're also running a special on chopped duck liver on rye.
- Jans has a picture with the Ducks winning the state Championship hung in his store. Gordon mentions how he and Charlie's mother drifted off between movies while observing it.
- The third movie:
- Gordon plans on staying on as Team USA Coach in the Goodwill Games after his showing in the previous movie.
- Charlie asks Dwayne to start a game of round-up before their first practice at the Eden Hall rink.
- One of the Eden Hall seniors tries to get Charlie to show him how to triple-deke like he did against the Hawks.
- Gordon's talk with Charlie during the latter half of D3 is similar to Jan's discussion with Gordon in D2.
- The same could be said for the training montages in the last two films.
- Fulton and Dean are immediately re-referred to as the Bash Brothers once they take to the ice.
- The second movie:
- The Corrupter: Reilly is this for the Hawks. He instills the idea that Second Place Is for Losers, and he orders McGill to injure Banks in the championship game (which McGill is only too happy to do).
- Creator Cameo: Scriptwriter Steven Brill plays prosecutor Frank Huddy in D1. See What Could Have Been below for details. He has cameos in D2 and D3 as well. note
- Crippling the Competition: In D2: The Mighty Ducks, Wolf "The Dentist" Stanson whacks Gordon Bombay his bad leg, keeping Bombay from winning a game of three bar against him.
- Also how Gordon's comeback is derailed in the first place.
- Done to Banks in the first two movies: in the first, he is hit with a cheap shot that sends him sliding into a goalpost, knocking him out. In the second, his arm is seriously injured after an opposing player hits him with his stick as though it were an axe.
- *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": Goldberg displays some inflexibility by the second film. This convinces Bombay to embrace Julie as a backup goalie.
- Crowd Chant: "Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack!"
- Curb-Stomp Battle: D1 and D2, District 5/Team USA's first game against the the Hawks and Team Iceland, respectively, are utter blowouts (17-0 and 12-1, respectively). First film justified as they were just beginners with no real training, second film due to overconfidence.
- Dark Is Evil: The Opposing Sports Team in each movie wears black.
- David vs. Goliath:
- The Ducks are the perennial losers up against the perennial winners in the first film.
- In the sequel, Bob Miller makes this analogy re the Ducks (David) and Iceland (Goliath). As if to underscore this, we then see Ken Wu (the smallest Duck) dwarfed by a much larger Icelander.
- Deus Exit Machina: In the championship game of the first film, Adam is injured and has to get medical treatment and Fulton gets ejected for starting a fight against the Hawks, leaving the less talented Ducks to have to win the game themselves.
- Down to the Last Play: The first film ends with a penalty shot just after the end of regulation. The second one ends on the final shot of the shootout.
- Disappeared Dad: Charlie (divorce) and Gordon (death) bond over theirs.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: A related phenomenon occurs in the first movie. They lose most of the games in the season, but due to a series of extreme coincidences (including another team canceling their entire season due to measles) they make it to the playoffs.
- The Dreaded:
- Showcasing the power of Fulton's slap shot in pregame warm-ups put the fear of God into the Cardinals, which made it easy to pull the Statue of Liberty play by making all of them curl up on the ice in terror and give another Duck the space and time to put in the easy goal.
- In D2, Russ' "Knucklepuck." Stansson's best strategy was essentially either mobbing Russ or catching him before he could get a shot off. As soon as Bombay found a way around this (disguising Russ as the goalie) and Russ had a clear shot, Stansson could only let out a Big "NO!" as the "knucklepuck" soared past the baffled Iceland goalie to tie the game and send it to a shootout.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Coach Orion comes across as this at first, until he turns out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure as well as a Papa Wolf.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Goldberg's reaction when Orion promotes Julie to starting goalie.Averman: (looking at the roster) You're riding the pine pony, pal.
Goldberg: Heh heh, very funny.
Averman: Julie's one. You're two.
Goldberg: I'm backup? (rushes up to look at the roster himself) How could he do this to me? What am I, chopped liver?
- Easily Distracted Referee: In the first game against Iceland, Dean Portman is given a game misconduct penalty and ejected for rushing at an opponent unprovoked and knocking him down, then striking a referee. Later, Julie "The Cat" Gaffney is ejected for "intent to injure" after shoving a pair of Icelandic hecklers. Shortly after, An Iceland player intentionally shatters his stick off Adam Banks' outstretched arm after Banks has scored a goal. He is given a two minute penalty.
- Escalating War: A subplot in 3. At one point, Varsity gets their clothes soaked in liquid nitrogen.Orion: Now, for the last time: Stay away from the Varsity!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Larson after McGill knocks Banks out of the championship game.*Larson and McGill find Banks unconscious on the ice*
Larson: Adam! Adam, are you okay? (to McGill) What'd you do?
McGill My job.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Luis Mendoza, as seen when he's introduced.Connie: (about Luis) He's a good-looking skater!Averman: Very good-looking! What do you think, Guy?Guy: Shut up, Averman! (knocks Averman down)
- Exact Eavesdropping: Some of the kids overhear Bombay and Reilly having an argument in a hallway but mistake Gordon's "[The Ducks] didn't even deserve to live" as truth instead of sarcasm.
- Expy: Stansson seems to come across as another version of Reilly. Subverted at the end, though, when he congratulates Gordon for winning.
- Fanservice: In 3, Dean is sent to the penalty box and immediately starts stripping off his clothes and equipment (likely a Shout-Out to Slap Shot). The announcer immediately lampshades it.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Russ Tyler's first appearance in D2 has him heckling the team, but when they're at their nadir, Russ and his gang help them get their groove back. Russ then joins the team and helps them defeat Iceland.
- Follow the Leader: Lots of sports movies spawned shortly after that.
- Foreshadowing: In D2, Bombay is initially chagrined at the addition of Dean Portman, noting that his team doesn't play "goon" hockey, but Tibbles notes that the team will need an enforcer to keep up with Iceland. Sure enough, Portman is ejected mere seconds into their first meeting, and the Ducks are obliterated by the overly physical play of Iceland. With both Bash Brothers available in the championship game, the Ducks manage to keep their deficit at a more manageable level.
- Forgot I Could Stop: Either this, or Luis apparently didn't refine his stopping skills between D2 and D3, as he goes right back to being a classic Fragile Speedster: Fantastic speed, absolutely NO brakes.
- Formal Full Array of Cutlery: At the upscale restaurant in the third movie. Cowboy Dwayne is confused by all the forks, especially the "itty-bitty one."
- The Generic Guy: Guy Germaine's character can only be described as a) Connie's love interest and b) the best player on the team aside from Banks.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the first film, some of the characters come across some nudie mags. Some other guys take it from them and say they wouldn't even know what to do with them.
- Glass Cannon: The team itself, according to Orion."I've seen your tapes. I know you can score goals; I just don't know if you can stop them."
- Going Home Again:
- In the first film, Gordon's backstory included him being a rising, talented hockey player who scored 197 goals in a season before clanging what could have been No. 198 off the goalpost turned him off hockey and he went into law; his return back to Hans' sports equipment shop after the disastrous start to his Pee-wee coaching career ends with a quiet nighttime skate that brought back old memories of him and his dad in a frozen backyard pond, rekindling his love of the game and prompting him to begin the long road to repairing the Ducks.
- The second film did it twice. The first is at the beginning with Bombay returning from his minor league hockey stint after his Career-Ending Injury by bus on a rainy night alone (mirroring his departure at the end of the first film by bus on a clear day with his team and Charlie's mother cheering him off) - he comes home unsure about what to do now that he's injured but doesn't want to go back to being a lawyer (the eggs Jans makes helps a little, but doesn't solve the problem) until he gets the Team USA offer. The second relocates it from Minnesota to Malibu but otherwise fits, as Bombay goes back to the house he's staying at courtesy of his sponsor Hendrix after getting caught up in the Hollywood spotlight (with Jans flying in to cook him the same egg dish) before he goes rollerblading on the beach and reconciling with the team.
- Golden Snitch: A standard playoff structure (albeit with an unusually low bar for qualification) is made to look like this when the Ducks are able to overcome an 0-11 start and a later forfeit because of an opponents' illness-forfeited season, a win and a draw. They then run through the playoffs and win the state title.
- Graceful Loser: Despite being jerks the entire tourney, Team Iceland accepts defeat and their star player even tells his team to go shake the hands of their opposition.
- Greek Chorus: The commentators, especially in the last two films.
- Handshake Refusal: A Varsity Warrior puts his chewing gum into Dwayne's hand.
- Happy Ending Override: The final shot of the first movie is Bombay on his way to professional tryouts to make the NHL. The first scene of the sequel is him tearing up the minors with the announcer saying that it's only a matter of time before he makes the NHL. Cue cheap shot, ending his hockey career forever.
- Hero of Another Story: The team that beats Gordon's Hawks at the beginning of the first film. Their underdog story could make a good movie in its own right.
- Hidden Depths: In the third movie, after Charlie and Fulton temporarily quit, Goldberg is made a defenseman and proves surprisingly effective.
- History with Celebrity: In the first film, Basil McRae recognizes Gordon because they played each other in Pee Wee hockeynote . Mike Modano is also familiar with Gordon's prowess, but incorrectly believed Gordon became a farmer instead of a lawyer.
- Hockey Fight: This was pretty much inevitable. Specifically, Ken Wu picks a fight with the Iceland goalie and spends two minutes in the box.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Bombay all but tells the Alumni Board this in D3 when he points out that Eden Hall gave him the education to become the excellent lawyer that he is in representing Orion and the Ducks in their fight to stay in the school.Gordon: I will collect damages. I will win, because I am very, very good. You know why I'm so good? Because I had a good education. You gave it to me, and you're going to give it to these kids.
- Hollywood, California: The better part of D2 takes place in Los Angeles; Russ Tyler is recruited from South Central. Ken Wu comes from San Francisco.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: One of the kids relates to Gordon what happened to their previous coach: A long rant, followed by a sudden clutch at his left arm. Gordon concludes, "Heart attack."
- Worth noting, the kids claim that he hurt his arm.
- How Many Fingers?: When Karp takes a slapshot to the face. (Good thing he was wearing a helmet.)Gordon: (holds up three fingers) Karp, how many fingers am I holding up?
Peter: He wouldn't know that anyway.
Gordon: Shut up, Peter.
- Hypocrite: Ducksworth in D1. He forces Gordon to coach pee wee hockey because he thinks Gordon needs to learn fair play, but later we see that Ducksworth himself is totally willing to not play fair when it suits him. Like for instance: pulling strings with the Pee Wee Hockey League to get his friend's son (Banks) to stay on a team he legally shouldn't be on, threatening Gordon with his job if Gordon doesn't cooperate with this, then firing Gordon out of spite when Gordon refuses to cave.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Played With. In the first film, Gordon was a star Pee Wee hockey player until he quit due to a combination of grief over his father's death and missing a potential game winning shot that cost his team the championship. As an adult, people keep reminding Gordon how great he was and that he could have gone "all the way" to the NHL if he didn't quit (Hans on the other hand considers sad because of how much Gordon loved to play as a kid). By the end, he regains his love for the game and decides to try out for the minors. He's on the fast track to the NHL by the beginning of the sequel until he suffers a Career-Ending Injury, which makes him play the trope straight.
- Ignored Expert: Coach Orion is a former NHL player and is completely right about both the Ducks' lackluster defensive skills and the need for them to improve in order to compete in hockey at the high school level. However, because this requires shaking up the Ducks' traditions, the team ignores him until Bombay has a heart to heart with Charlie.
- Informed Flaw: While Charlie briefly quits the team in D3, the commentator says that Goldberg's suddenly excelled as a defenseman. He's alluded to in the Freshman-JV as the "new defensive weapon," but we don't get to see much of this.
- Insufferable Genius: "Shut UP, Averman!"
- It Only Works Once: A major plot point in D3. Coach Orion tries to stress that "their little duck tricks" (the knuckle-puck, the flying V, etc.) won't work at this level of hockey and they need to focus on defense. In their first game, the Ducks' tricks do work in the first two periodsgiving them an absurd nine goal lead. However, by the third period the other team catches onto the tactics and stops them, then takes advantage of the Ducks' lackluster defense to score nine goals themselves, ending the game in a tie.
- I Take Offense to That Last One!: After the fire ant prank in D3, a Varsity player tells the Ducks that they're all just white trash. Russ leans over and asks, "Who are you calling white?"
- I Will Show You X: After Charlie gets an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in D3 for smashing his stick against a goalpost, he goes to the box grumbling "I'll show you 'unsportsmanlike'!"
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- In D3, the varsity captain when he says it's not fair that players who would've been on the JV team under normal circumstances, like his younger brother, lost their spots because the school decided to give full scholarships to a team that won the gold medal in an international competition. Especially since it's implied that other players weren't even allowed to try out for the team.
- Orion may be harsh on the team, but everything he says about defense is proven right in an early game when a 9-0 lead collapses into a 9-9 tie because of shoddy defense.Orion: How long does it take to score a goal? (throws a puck into the message board) Less than a second! That means no lead is safe if you can't play defense! Now get this straight: I don't give a damn how many goals you score! I want one number on your mind: zero, as in "shutout"! You got that?!
- Jerkass Realization: Charlie comes to one as Gordon tells him the full story about Orion.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Coach Orion. First off, although he pretty much destroys the status quo on the Ducks by first putting the players in all the wrong positions on the ice even benching their most experienced goalie and blaming them when they lose, he is violently protective of them. To the point where he even threatened a Varsity member for their part of the non sanctioned game. As well as defending them when they were about to get kicked out of Eden Hall. He also gave up a career in the North Star hockey team just so he could take care of his Invalid Daughter, whom he spends his spare time skating with.Ted Orion: It's a damn good thing I am not your coach, now get your team out of here now!!!
- Adam's father comes across as a bit of a snob when he tries to stop Gordon from taking Adam away from the Hawks, but he's doing it because he wants his son to be able to play with his friends and honestly thinks Adam would rather quit hockey than not play with them. During the final game we see him sitting with the Hawks and wearing a Hawks jacket but cheering for Adam rather than the Hawks, indicating that he still supports his son regardless of the team he's playing for.
- Kids Play Matchmaker: Charlie tries to hook up his (presumably divorced) mom and his hockey coach. They start to date, but it apparently falls apart between the first two movies as the coach starts to travel around in his new career.
- Knows the Ropes: Dwayne uses his lasso in D2 to stop an Iceland player from board-checking Connie. He then gets two minutes in the box for "roping".
- Kung Fu-Proof Mook: D3, the Ducks are told "Your little Duck tricks won't work anymore."
- Large Ham: "Hey Goldberg, if that puck was a CHEESEBURGER you'd stop it!"
- Laser-Guided Karma: The first film opens with Gordon smugly beating a D.A. in court and also humiliating the judge involved by using one of the latter's old arguments to win. When Gordon is arrested on a DUI, guess which court he ends up in. The D.A. says the State won't be looking for a plea deal and throws Gordon's own words back on "gotta go for the Big W" with a smug smile on his face the whole time.Judge Weathers: To think I almost stayed home this morning...
- Let Me at Him!: Invoked in the sequel — Goldberg tells his teammates to hold him back while he makes a show of doing this during the game against Iceland.
- Lightning Bruiser: Luis Mendoza is brought on in D2 because of his great speed. He just has some issues with stopping.
- Living Crashpad: Since Goldberg's the goalie, opposing players and his own teammates tend to crash into him when the other team is trying to score.
- Man Hug: Bombay and Charlie share a lot of these.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!":Bombay: Rancher Dwayne!
Dwayne: Yes, sir?
Bombay: Round me up some stray cattle, there! *Hands over rope*
Dwayne: My pleasure!
Team: Ohhhhhhhh! *All scatter*
- Meaningful Funeral: Hans' death is the turning point in D3.
- Meaningful Name: Adam Banks. He's rich. "Adam" means "man" in Hebrew, so he's literally a rich man.
- Meaningful Rename: The pee-wee hockey team at first is only known as "District 5" because they are so rag-tag and broke they have no team identity — they could only be referred to in the cold bureaucratic manner the league assigned them when they divided up the state of Minnesota into districts for purposes of assigning which kids played on what team. Only after Bombay came around to serious proper coaching and the team got its sponsorship from the law firm he works for did they become known as the Ducks.
- Miracle Rally: In the title games of the first two films. D1, the Ducks were down 3-0 after one period and 4-2 after two (a little more imposing since the pee-wee games had 12-minute periods instead of 20). D2, Team USA was down 4-1 to Iceland after two periods and was facing a 5-2 deficit partway through the third. In the third movie, the Ducks manage to jump to a 9-0 lead against an opponent; the game ends up being tied due to sloppy defense.
- My Greatest Failure: Bombay is haunted by his missed penalty shot in overtime for decades. He finally gets over it when he realizes what a dick his old coach was.
- Newscaster Cameo: Real-life sportscaster Bob Miller provides the play-by-play for several of the Ducks' games.
- Fulton unleashes his high-powered slapshot on the Icelandic goalie, who manages to stop it...but ends up with the imprint of the puck in his palm.
- The Ducks' Flying V worked in D1, but gets stood up in D2 (by Iceland in the final) and D3 (by the varsity team in the challenge game) and they get knocked on their asses.
- Not Helping Your Case:
- In the first film, Bombay asks Connie what their current record is. She replies they're 0-9, then weakly defends they almost won once; they almost scored a goal and they only lost by 5 points that time.
- When Michelle McKay introduces herself as the team's tutor, Dean Portman protests, saying "I don't need no school!" A thousand grammar teachers would say otherwise, Portman.
- Oblivious to Her Own Description: D1, Tammy still isn't sold about joining District 5 even after she and Tommy take Bombay's invite.Tammy (once Bombay leaves): Mom isn't gonna like this at all.Tommy: So what? If I have to try out for figure skating, then you gotta try out for hockey.Tammy (frustrated): What do I know about hockey?! (knocks Tommy onto his back)Tommy (slightly dazed): More than you think.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Several games take place offscreen. Notably in D2, Team Russia deals Team Iceland its first defeat (allowing the Iceland-US rematch to be a true winner-take-all in the double-elimination format set up); Team USA also defeats Team Canada offscreen, likely not to alienate the Canadian demographic.
- Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Seeing that his team is fine without him, Gordon Bombay happily walks out of the Eden Hall rink unnoticed at the end of D3.
- Once an Episode: Each film features a scene in the Mall of America and at least one scene where the Ducks are in roller blades.
- Oh, Crap!: In the second movie, when the returning characters practice against the new recruits, Fulton readies his slapshot. The returning characters immediately panic and rush out of the way. The new characters (especially Portman) wonder why until Fulton takes his shot.
- Fulton does this again later to Iceland's goalie, when it's his turn at the shoot out. The goalie had previously blocked one of his shots but messed up his hand doing so, so he's shaking nervously, and ends up failing the save.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The Varsity team gets a very excitable Dies Irae over their plays.
- Opposing Sports Team: First the Hawks, then Iceland, then Eden Hall Varsity. Slobs vs Snobs
- Ordered to Cheat: Two in the first film:
- Parental Substitute: Gordon for Charlie who doesn't have a father. Gordon lost his own father when he was about Charlie's age so he knows how he feels. Gordon even falls in love with Charlie's mother but their relationship has ended by the time the second film begins. Hans is implied to have been one for Gordon in a similar way.
- The Perfectionist: Gordon Bombay the lawyer at the start of D1. His crooning of his 30-0 record and immediate disavowal of the Frasier case because he "scored with the court reporter" with the "intelligent body" speaks to Bombay's outlook at that point in the plot. It was probably something he got from his old coach Jack Reilly, who bemoans the lone second-place banner from the 1973 season among the sea of championship banners just prior to Bombay the coach's first game against the Hawks.
- Phrase Catcher: "Shut up, Averman!", and, unsurprisingly, "Goldberg!!!"
- Powerful, but Inaccurate: Fulton's slapshots are powerful enough to knock a goalie into the net, but his accuracy in the first film is 20% at best. It gets better as he gains more experience.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:"I am Goldberg, THE GOALIE!!"
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Inverted. D1s Big Bad Jack Reilly was Gordon Bombays coach during his childhood.
- Put on a Bus: Half the kids from the first film, presumably to make way for the newcomers. Also, Charlie's mom, said to have re-married during Gordon's comeback attempt. Hans is said to be visiting his mother, leaving the shop in the care of his brother Jan.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Charlie goes around town gathering his teammates at the start of the second film. Along the way, an Almost Kiss between Connie and Guy is broken up, upsetting the latter (even though he already kissed her in the previous movie).
- Also serves as a plot point when the team shows up to play for the first time after getting back together. Seriously, for the first time:Bombay: Haven't you guys been practicing in the off-season?
Averman: You know, I knew we forgot something.
- Also serves as a plot point when the team shows up to play for the first time after getting back together. Seriously, for the first time:
- Pet the Dog: Larson staying with Banks until the paramedics arrive after McGill injures him.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The Ducks, when they were simply District 5, are a band of underdogs who were basically at the bottom of the barrel (they didn't even have proper hockey equipment). Once they become the Ducks, they become champions.
- Reality Ensues: The third film has several examples of this.
- After the Ducks get their scholarships to Eden hall, Gordon informs them that he won't be coaching them anymore and Orion will be taking over. While the Ducks are upset by this, the fact is that no hockey player has the same coach at every level of the game.
- Goldberg's poor practice habits and lack of athleticism catch up to him and Orion names Julie the starting goalie when she vastly outperforms him at practice.
- The Ducks' reliance on gimmicks and trick plays rather than fundamentals bites them in their first game when their opponents catch on to them and exploit the team's poor defense to turn a 9-0 deficit into a 9-9 draw.
- At the peak of their prank war, the Ducks challenge the varsity team to an unsanctioned game. The varsity team proceeds to take advantage of the lack of officiating to lay several dirty hits that would get them penalized in a real game. They didn't care so much about playing hockey in so much as they wanted to assault them for the fire ants prank.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Dean of Eden Hall in the third film likes the Ducks and does his best to fight for the Ducks even when the Alumni and the Board want to revoke their scholarships.
- Subverted with Ducksworth in D1. He seems like one at first, forcing Gordon to become a pee-wee hockey coach for his community service in the hope that it would make Gordon a better person and attorney. Ironically he ends up firing Gordon after Gordon displays his newfound integrity by refusing to let Banks continue playing with the Hawks in violation of district rules.
- Sarcasm-Blind: The team mutinies against Bombay when some of them overhear him bad-mouthing the team, although Bombay was actually being sarcastic and defending them against Coach Reilly. When Bombay tells Karp he was being sarcastic and asks if he knows what that is, Karp sarcastically replies, "Nooooo!"
- Sarcastic Clapping: Coach Stansson of Team Iceland gives Bombay a sarcastic little clap after beating Team USA 12-1.
- Scholarship Students: In D3, the Ducks receive scholarships to a prestigious private school called Eden Hall Academy. The varsity hockey team is pissed off because the Ducks took the junior varsity roster spots that would have been available to their younger siblings. However, they're initially nicer to Adam Banks, who gets called up to the varsity team himself. Due to his family's wealth and his exceptional talent, Adam likely would have gotten onto the team by conventional means, anyway. When the Ducks fail to perform, the Board of Trustees threatens to pull their scholarships, but Gordon Bombay comes to Eden Hall with his lawyer hat on and saves his former team.
- Second Place Is for Losers: The philosophy of Hawks' coach Jack Reilly, something which he instilled and lingered in Bombay the young player and into Bombay the lawyer.Reilly: Remember, it's not worth playing...Young Gordon: ...if you can't win.
- Serious Business: Apparently children's hockey games are this in the team's hometown: The local paper covers them, complete with large headers and dramatic photographs.
- How Reilly treats children's hockey, to the point where he orders one of his players to freaking injure Banks, badly enough that Banks has to be taken out on a stretcher.
- No American state is more crazy about hockey than Minnesota, but the films definitely take it Up to Eleven.
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: An $857 formal dinner in D3.
- The shopping montage mentioned below is also an example as it shows the cash register for Hans's sporting goods store quickly racking up a massive bill for the newly sponsored Ducks.
- Shopping Montage: In the first film, after sponsorship allows the Ducks to buy proper hockey equipment.
- Significant Name: Gordon Bombay has two brands of gin in his name (Gordon's Gin and Bombay Sapphire), and the plot of the first movie starts with him getting arrested for drunk driving.
- Skipping School: Charlie and Fulton do this in the third installment, going to an amusement park instead. One worker there knows what they're doing, but promises to keep quiet as he did the same thing.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: The Ducks against the Opposing Sports Team in D1 and D3 are the clearest examples, with the Ducks as the Slobs (and even in D2, several Iceland players give off the impression that they look down upon Team USA such as with mocking laughs). Part of Banks' difficulty in integrating with the Ducks in D1 also stems from this, with the Slob part best encapsulated with Jesse's nicknaming of Banks "cake eater" and overriding Charlie's attempt to reach out to Banks by leading the other Ducks in shunning him at the start of the Huskies game.
- Emphasized by the Varsity team calling the Ducks "white trash" and "affirmative action."
- Smooch of Victory: Connie and Guy at the end of the first movie. The third ends with Luis making out with a cheerleader and Charlie kissing Linda, a girl whom he was courting throughout the film.
- So Last Season: Several of the Ducks' tricks from the first film get counteracted in the second (including the Flying V and Fulton's power slapshot).
- Sore Loser: The Hawks team. Even a year later they're pretty upset that they lost to the Ducks.
- Sorry Ociffer: The cop who pulled Bombay over on suspicion of DUI gets enough evidence when, having asked Bombay to turn down the car stereo, he hears Bombay admit that it was "a 'widdle' noisy".
- Sound Off: Used in D2.I don't know but I been toldTeam USA's gonna win the goldListen up and listen goodWe're all headed for Hollywood
- Spinning Newspaper: Used to keep the first two films moving.
- Spiritual Successor: To The Bad News Bears as both films feature a coach who is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold teaching a team of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and said coach forms a bond with one of the players. the difference is that in this movie the underdogs actually won.
- Spoiler Cover: The main poster for the film spoils the fact that Adam Banks eventually joins the Ducks.
- Spoiler Title: The UK video title for the first film is The Mighty Ducks Are The Champions.
- Stealth Pun: The "Oreo line" from the first film - The Hall brothers, centered by Guy Germaine.
- Stern Teacher: At least one at Eden Hall."Every Monday, you'll have a practice quiz; every Wednesday, you'll have a real quiz; every Friday, you'll have an exam; and anytime I feel like it, you'll have a surprise quiz or exam."
- Stone Wall: In the final game of D3, the Ducks prove that they've shed their Glass Cannon weaknesses by shutting out the Varsity.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Be honest, as kids, how many of us actually noticed that Hans was swapped with his brother Jan for D2?
- The replacement players in D2:
- Peter Mark -> Leather-clad, rebellious, loud-mouth -> Dean Portman
- Dave Karp -> Plucky Comic Relief -> Dwayne Robertson
- Terry Hall -> Speedster -> Luis Mendoza
- Tommy Duncan -> Kid figure skater -> Ken Wu
- Tammy Duncan -> Second female player -> Julie Gaffney
- Also in D3, Russ Tyler, though appearing in D2, gains some of departed player Jesse Halls characteristics.
- Take Five: In the first film, Tommy and Tammy Duncan are spotted on a hockey rink before practice. Bombay tells his team to get ready, then recruits the Duncans in private.
- Tantrum Throwing: After getting ejected from the first Iceland game, Portman vents his frustration on things in the locker room.
- Technician vs. Performer:
- Adam Banks is a gifted hockey player, but Charlie is picked to be Captain because he is an emotional leader.
- The Ducks themselves are the performers to the opposing technicians. Doesn't work quite so well in the third movie.
- While discussing Banks, Reilly tells Bombay that Gordon had more pure talent (Performer) but Banks practices harder (Technician).
- That Poor Cat: After one of Fulton's slapshots in the third movie.
- Those Two Guys: The Hawks' players, Larson and McGill.
- Title Confusion: The Mighty Ducks was called Champions in the UK and Commonwealth countries. D2: The Mighty Ducks was simply called The Mighty Ducks, the same as the international name for the first film. Ultimately the third film was called D3: The Mighty Ducks everywhere.
- Token Black: With Jesse Hall having left the Ducks by the beginning of the third film, Russ Tyler becomes this for the team.
- Too Fast to Stop: Mendoza; he's the fastest skater on the team, and usually ends up crashing into the boards.
- Took a Level in Badass: Once per movie.
- In D1, the team goes from the laughingstock of pee-wee hockey to a championship team.
- D3 may be the best example. Early in the movie, Orion criticizes them for their lackluster defense and overreliance on trick plays that no longer cut it at the high-school level. When they play against the Varsity, they prove that they took his lessons to heart by playing actual "two-way" hockey and ultimately shutting out the Varsity.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Pretty much the ENTIRE team in D3. Though the rival varsity players are pretty huge jerks too, the protaganists match them prank for prank through the first half of the movie, and also act very disrespectful towards their new coach, mostly just for the "crime" of shaking up their status quo and holding them to higher standards. A large part of the plot is focused on Charlie in particular getting over his new Jerkassery.
- Just look at how they treat Banks after he gets promoted to varsity (which wasn't his fault). They stop talking to him, blame him for the pranks the varsity does on them (even though he takes no part and didn't know about them until it was too late), freeze his locker along with the rest of the varsity players just because he's on the team, and Charlie insults him when he tries to explain himself and cheap shots him in the unofficial scrimmage in retaliation for playing clean defense.
- Probably the biggest offense is when Fulton accuses Russ of being a "sell out." Russ is merely driven; he realizes what a great opportunity he and his teammates have at Eden Hall Academy, and doesn't want any of them to blow it.
- Took a Level in Kindness: When we first see Gordon Bombay, he's a cocky Amoral Attorney who hates kids and hockey. Over the course of the first film, he warms up to the Ducks (even becoming a Parental Substitute to Charlie) and rekindles his love of hockey, enough that he's playing minor league at the start of the sequel.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Adam Banks was a bit of a jerk when he was on the Hawks thanks to Reilly's coaching and his hanging out with McGill and Lawson. Once he joins the Ducks, he becomes a lot nicer.
- Training Montage: One in each movie. The third movie features a lot of Improvised Training.
- Trash Talk: Ken Wu decides to try some under Russ Tyler's tutelage. It takes him three tries to make any headway.Ken: Yo, Russ, you gotta teach me how to talk some trash.
Russ: It can't be taught, Kenny-man. It's gotta be the first thing that comes into your mind. You just gotta go ahead and say it. Try it.
Ken: Okay. (to a nearby ref) Hey, ref—
Russ: Ah, ah...(covers Ken's mouth) Pick another target.
Ken: (towards opposing team's bench) Hey, #44, you play—you, you, you play—you don't play real good.
#44: Yeah, right.
Russ: Shorter, man. Get to the point.
Ken: (towards opposing player on the ice) Hey, #9, bite me! (gets knocked on his butt)
Russ: (chuckling) Now we're getting somewhere.
- Truth in Television: Serious hockey players do have to learn to play two-way hockey eventually. Successful professional teams speak to its importance on a regular basis.
- Two First Names: Russ Tyler; Peter Mark.
- Two Girls to a Team: Tammy Duncan and Connie Moreau in D1; Julie "The Cat" Gaffney replaces Tammy for the two sequels.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Subverted with the new coach in the third movie. While Coach Orion is a lot stricter than Bombay, he knows what he's talking about and all the changes he makes to the team lineup and practices make the Ducks better players. Given the players' disrespectful attitudes towards him, the punishments he gives them are pretty well justified.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Well, once Bombay gets the team's act together and adds a couple of very good players in Adam Banks and Fulton Reed, suddenly they can play.
- Unnecessary Roughness: The Ducks are frequently the victim of this until Fulton and/or Portman start dishing it right back to the other team.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Fulton has unbelievable power but, initially at least, very little accuracy. In his first game, Bombay psyches out the opposing team by putting Fulton on the ice before the game starts and having him take practice shots at the empty goal, with only 1 in 5 being on target, but the obvious power on display terrifies the opponents, setting up a Statue of Liberty play later in the game where Fulton pretends he's going to take a shot at goal only for another duck to swoop in and score unopposed while the entire enemy defence is scrambling for cover. He gets better over the course of the series.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
- During the first Iceland game, Ken Wu outlines to Gordon a figure skating maneuver he can use to split the defense. He barely starts the maneuver when two Iceland defensemen clobber him.
- Played the opposite way in the second Iceland game when Gordon and Charlie each come up with a trick play. Since neither plan is explained on-screen, they both work perfectly.
- Very High Velocity Rounds: Russ's "knucklepuck." Oxymoronic as a knuckler is effective because it's slow. More famously, Fulton's slapshot: he is capable of shattering plexiglass with it, and once left a puck-shaped indent in the hand of the only goalie to actually stop it.
- Waking Non Sequitur: Mr. Tibbles is knocked out by Fulton's slapshot in D2 and when he comes to he orders a cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake.
- We Used to Be Friends: In the first film, when Adam transfers to the Ducks, his former Hawk teammates immediately cut him off. In the final game, Coach Reilly orders the team to take Adam out of the game by whatever means, which one was more than happy to do. Crosses into Moral Event Horizon as said player actually injures Adam to the point he has to be carried off in a stretcher, and thinks nothing of it.
- Larson: Adam! Adam, are you okay? (to McGill) What'd you do?McGill My job.
- We Win... Because You Didn't: In the third film, the Ducks' opponents' nine goals third period comeback to end the game in a tie is treated as a win for them and a very disappointing defeat for the Ducks (understandable as a four goal lead in hockey is considered a blowout). Orion privately admits to the Dean he would've preferred it if the Ducks lost so it would've be a true loss and have more impact on them.
- Wealth's in a Name: Adam Banks, who is rich.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bombay at the start of D1 - in his case it's Coach Reilly and later his boss Ducksworth since his actual dad, who was very supportive of him, died when he was young.
- Bombay (at the law firm's office just after another trial win): No calls from the duck phone?Jeannine: Not yet.Bombay: (impatient huff) What's he waiting for? I saw him in the back of the courtroom - how about some kudos here, huh?!
- Wham Shot: In D2, Fulton's power shot, which could tear a hole into a goalie net as well as knock a goalie into the net by sheer force, actually gets stopped by the Iceland team goalie. Didn't mean he got out of it unscathed.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first movie Goldberg says that he won't be the team's goalie for long, because he was moving back to Philly with his mom. This never happens in the sequels and is never even brought up again, though in the second movie, his parents seem to be operating a deli together; possibly they were getting divorced, then changed their minds.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Jack Reilly orders one of his players, McGill, to deliberately injure Banks. McGill does so without any sign of remorse. Neither is shown suffering any real consequences beyond McGill getting a two-minute penalty. In real life, not only would Reilly and McGill likely be immediately kicked out of the league, but possibly face criminal charges. (Then again, for guys like McGill and Reilly simply losing a game may be more than punishment enough.) Plus, neither Reilly nor McGill were ever seen or mentioned after the first film.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Gordon gets three of them in D2 after he falls prey to the fame and loses what everyone liked about him; one by his team, one by Ms. McKay, and one by Jan.
- In the third movie, a stubborn Charlie gets it from Hans, his mother, and his teammates.
- Who Needs Overtime?: Played straight for the first and third films - the second one it's averted in the sense that though the game went to a shootout instead of a traditional sudden-death overtime it's still extra play that was required due to a tie score after regulation. Interestingly, in the first film Gordon actually says the team will beat the Hawks in overtime before the below happens.
- D1: Score tied at 4, Charlie draws a hooking penalty on a breakaway with no time left in regulation and is awarded a penalty shot (any Duck on the ice was eligible according to the ref, but Bombay chose Charlie). Charlie triple-dekes the Hawks' goalie and banks his shot off the post and in for the game-winner.
- D2: Russ, pretending to be Goldberg since Iceland had been swarming him every time he got on the ice as a normal skater, launches his knucklepuck unimpeded and gets it past the Iceland goalie to tie the score at 5 at the end of the third period. The game goes to a five-round shootout with the US going first; after four rounds each side nets three. Banks pots his attempt for the US, then Bombay pulls Goldberg and puts in Julie, who gloves Gunnar Stahl's shot to win.
- D3: Scoreless game going into the dying seconds of regulation, the puck somehow ends up on the stick of Goldbergnote to everyone's suprise (including Goldberg's) - he fires it top-shelf past the varsity team's goalie.
- The Worf Barrage:
Goldberg: My mother would not approve of this, Coach. She'd like me to live to my Bar Mitzvah.
- Fulton's slapshot subverts this twice in D2. The first time, it's blocked by Team Iceland's goalie...but the goalie's intense pain (as well as a puck shaped bruise) suggests that it was mainly sheer luck that his glove was in the right spot. Subverted completely near the end, when the shot unexpectedly works perfectly during the tie-breaker shootout. (On the other hand, viewers may notice the Iceland goalie (same in both games) visibly shaking nervously when Fulton steps up the second time, presumably having the pain fresh in his head from last time, which likely caused him to mess up the save the second time around.)
- Invoked in D1 when the Ducks start practicing in a proper manner (i.e., not by cheating) - specifically, how Bombay gets Goldberg to stop being afraid of the puck (kind of a problem if you're the goalie): tying Goldberg's limbs to the goal frame and having the rest of District 5 (plus himself) fire hundreds of pucks at him (Karp was especially eager at the chance). Goldberg was shaking in his skates and screaming bloody murder at first, but when he realizes pucks don't hurt he starts laughing and taunting his teammates to shoot harder.
Bombay: This is your Bar Mitzvah, Goldberg. Today you become a man.
Goldberg: Coach, I think you got the ceremonies mixed up. It's more like a circumcision!
- The Worf Effect: Adam Banks is considered the best player on the team, but cheap shots knocked him out of the final in the first film and had him injured for most of D2.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: Pee-Wee hockey results making front-page news seems a little ridiculous even by hockey-loving Minnesota standards. It goes even more overboard in the sequel, where the hockey finals of the Junior Goodwill Games not only gets huge newspaper coverage, but the paper's preview includes a giant Floating Head Syndrome image hyping Coach Bombay vs. Wolf Stansson.
- Worth It: Said by Iceland player Olaf Sanderson after intentionally going after Adam Banks and receiving only a 2-minute minor; gets an Ironic Echo later.
- Worthy Opponent: After the Ducks beat Iceland, star player Gunner Stahl defies Stansson's criticism to lead his team back onto the ice to shake hands with their opponents, personally congratulating Charlie on their victory.Stansson: Gunner...you lost it for me.
Gunner: You lost it for yourself. (to team) Let's go shake their hands.
Gunner: (to Charlie) Good work, Captain Duck.
Charlie: Thanks, Gunner.
- Writing Lines: After a display of insubordination, most of the team has to write "I will not quack at the principal" in detention.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: How Charlie reacts when Bombay steps down in D3.
- Charlie says this verbatim in the very next scene when Fulton informs him that Portman has refused his Eden Hall scholarship.
- Charlie has a complete meltdown during the first game of D3 after getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for breaking his stick across the goalpost.
- Seriously, Charlie overreacts in this manner to pretty much everything that happens to him in the first 3/4 of D3 (Orion's coaching methods, losing the captaincy, converting to defenseman, being scolded by Casey for his on-ice behavior, tackling and insulting Banks during the dawn scrimmage, Fulton returning to school, Hans delivering the hard truth and then dying, Bombay showing up at Hans' funeral.
- D3 is basically the story of Charlie learning to cope with change and adversity while dealing with the raging hormones of a 14-year old boy.
- You Watch Too Much X: Dwayne says his teammates watch too much TV. Russ says it's the safest activity in South Central Los Angeles.
"Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!"