Gordon Bombay is a top lawyer in Minnesota but very self centred and when he is sentenced for community service he must coach a youth ice hockey team who haven’t won a game.
Bombay had a background with ice hockey having played when he was a kid, for the Hawks and Coach Reilly who was still in charge of them to this day. He was truly horrific to young Gordon when he missed a big shot to win a big game, calling him a disgrace. Considering this was the same year he lost his father he then stopped playing. The raw and tough memories are something he would have to revisit when coaching district 5, which after he gets them a sponsor become The Ducks.
Something really interesting about the film is looking at what they believe to be a successful and good coach, as those two things aren’t often the same thing. Coach Reilly is successful and always has been with The Hawks, but a good coach is something he is not. Asking his players to cheat and be dirty, treating them in the worst possible ways is not being a good coach. It is not teaching the players to become good people in the process. New found Coach Bombay tries to do himself, he is nasty and horrible to The Ducks to begin with because he thinks that is how you coach and get results.
The best thing about the film is then his development as a coach and more importantly person. The time with the kids especially when he makes hockey fun gains him respect, something he did not have from the start as he did not want to be involved. He challenges the youth ice hockey world when the boundaries had been changed and Adam Banks should be a Duck not a Hawk. The fight against this causes him to lose his top lawyer job and that moment alone is enough to show that he had changed in the best possible way and got what it was all about.
Charlie Conway is a key player of the team and he dislikes Bombay to begin with but they eventually see eye to eye especially when Bombay sees his young self in Charlie. The similarities between them with his father gone as well is something he cannot ignore. Along with Charlie each of the other players wanted nothing more than to be part of a team and more importantly enjoy it. That is key with any sport if you are playing and involved you have to enjoy it, especially youth sport as a coach you are responsible for capturing the love for sport and I feel this is something that this film shows in the best possible manner. Even if it does take a little bit of time to get there.
Emilio Estevez is brilliant as Gordon Bombay and only deserves the highest of praises for this role. Especially considering his brother Charlie Sheen was offered the role but turned it down, I think we would have seen a very different Bombay if that had happened. A young Joshua Jackson is impressive enough and he even beat Leonardo DiCaprio for the role as Charlie Conway!
The power of sport is evident throughout the film and I always feel that is great to see, working in sport myself I like to watch how they portray coaches and what works out well for them. My ice hockey knowledge however is not very high at all I must admit. I do however remember playing street hockey as a kid and pretending to be the Mighty Ducks!