By: Michael Abitabilo
Earlier this month, a buddy of mine alerted me that one Zachary Goldberg, a 25 year-old filmmaker from Plainview, New York, lists as one of his career goals “to direct a reboot of Mighty Ducks centered around Charlie Conway as the new Bombay.”
Well, Mr. Goldberg, get in line. Sure, you may have studied film at NYU, but have you spent years developing a D4 script treatment the way I have?
Ok, maybe I haven’t spent years developing a script, but below is a stream of consciousness e-mail I sent in February of this year to the same friend who told me about Mr. Goldberg’s plans. I consider this a work in progress, so please use the comment section below to share your ideas!
A rag tag group is thrown together by a wildcat owner who has had a hankering for hockey ever since the 1990s. Who, you might ask? Mr. Ducksworth, of course. So he puts together this team and they are an independent, non-affiliated team in the AHL. When hotshot lawyer and team General Manager Gordon Bombay finds a loophole in the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ contract with their minor league affiliate, he presses hard to become the official minor league team of the NHL franchise. After a prolonged legal battle results in a hung jury, they decide there is only one way to decide the issue: on the ice.
Intimidated by playing a group of professional players, team Captain Charlie Conway talks to Gordon Bombay about who they might be able to get to play in the game that could bring some professional experience to the locker room and ice. Then, it dawns on them: only one man could fully understand what it means to be a pro AND a duck. That man? Gordon Bombay.
Bombay suits up as the first ever GM/Coach/Player/Team General Counsel. Right before going out to the ice, though, Conway tells Bombay he put the wrong jersey on. Bombay responds: “What are you talking about Charlie? It says Bombay on the back.” Conway says: “Coach, it’s not about what’s on the back of that jersey, it’s what’s on the front.” and presents Bombay with a folded jersey. Bombay unfurls the green glory, to find that Charlie has had a captain’s “C” sewn on it for him. After all these years, Gordon Bombay is the captain of a professional hockey team.
After a close game full of great saves and hip checks, the game goes to overtime. Near the end of overtime, Conway gets a breakaway but is denied by the AHL team’s goalie, Jonas Bjorninson. With time running down, the rebound is kicked out to star forward Magnus Larrson, who has a breakaway of his own. He dekes once, he dekes twice, and appears to have Goldberg beat. Just as he is about to put the puck in the empty net, the Bash Brothers (Fulton Reed and that other guy) appear and simultaneously cross check Larrson in the face and back. Two penalties would have been called, but time has run out, so we go to the shootout.
The shootout is tied after 2 rounds. In the top of the 3rd, Goldberg makes a HUGE glove save when the shooter inexplicably stops 3 feet from the goal and takes a slap shot.
It all comes down to one last shooter: Charlie Conway. Before going to center ice, however, Conway turns to Bombay and said: “It’s your turn coach.” Bombay says he can’t take the shot. He is still haunted by his big miss against the Hawks in 1972. Charlie reminds him: “Coach: remember what you said to me: ‘a quarter of an inch Charlie. A quarter of an inch.” They exchange a knowing look.
Bombay (illegally) removes his helmet and skates to center ice. It’s Bombay vs. Bjorninson. Bombay approaches, dekes once, dekes twice and – you guessed it – dekes a third time. A TRIPLE DEKE. As he proceeds to backhand his shot towards the empty net, we transition to slow motion. It takes about 30 seconds for the puck to get from stick to goal. Finally, CLINK – the puck rings off the post ………… AND IN!!!! THE DUCKS WIN!
The Ducks are then the official AHL franchise of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks until a gambling scandal renders the entire NHL team ineligible to compete and suddenly the only way to replace them is by calling up the ENTIRE team to the show. The movie ends with Gordon Bombay leading the ducks onto the ice for their first NHL game (also leaving open the possibility for a 5th).
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Mike Abitabilo is the co-founder of the Read Zone, and while he always thought of himself as an Adam Banks, he was probably closer to a Lester Averman.