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By Adam Brady
Director of Publications & New Media
for the Ducks and Honda Center.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.03.2013 / 3:34 PM
In case you've missed it, there's been some captivating hockey going on the past couple of weeks, also known as the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. It's compelling to hockey fans, but especially to Ducks fans now that three Anaheim prospects (all drafted consecutively by the Ducks in 2011) have made it to Saturday's gold medal game.

Defending champion Team Sweden, which earned a berth into the final with a 3-2 shootout win over Russia today, has a forward corps that includes right wing Rickard Rakell (taken by the Ducks 30th overall in '11) and center William Karlsson (53rd). Rakell leads Sweden and ranks tied for fifth in the tournament with five assists, while Karlsson has two helpers in five games. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm, taken in the first round by the Ducks in 2012 and playing well at Norfolk this year, has missed the tournament with an injury.

But one of the biggest stars of the tournament is Team USA goalie John Gibson, who (39th overall pick in '11), who helped the Americans to the gold medal game with 33 saves in a 5-1 win over Canada in today's semis. Gibson leads the tournament in goals-against average and save percentage, and is tied for first in wins (4-2, 1.42 GAA & .954 SV%). Here's a highlight package of his handiwork in the tournament.

If you don't already know about Gibson, he's a big boy (6-3, 212 pounds) who has shined the last couple of seasons with Kitchener of the OHL. He put in some time at Ducks training camp last year, and Ducks fans last saw him at last summer's conditioning camp (here's an interview he did during that camp).

He also happens to wear No. 35, which you might recall was a pretty lucky number in the Ducks net for several years.

For now, Gibson is all about getting the U.S. its second gold medal in the last four years (also 2010) after he and the Americans settled for bronze last year. If you're interested in the gold medal game, set the alarm and get the coffee ready. It will be aired at 5 a.m. PT on NHL Network and TSN and streamed on NHL.com.

Hopefully we'll see more of the below regarding Gibson. Here are some of the tweets from reporters, bloggers and others praising his performance in this year's tournament:

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 11:29 AM
Ducks fans certainly know Brandon McMillan -- the young forward currently playing for Anaheim's AHL affiliate in Norfolk -- but they're never known him this well.

Brandon's father Rick, who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, recently sent in some childhood photos of his son to the PR guys in Norfolk because he thought they'd get a kick out of them. They forwarded them on to us, and we thought it would be fun to get both Brandon and his dad to reflect on them:


Brandon:
I don’t really remember this one, but that’s probably something for Christmas or something where they wanted to get a nice little picture of me. My grandma has a picture of me from every grade, and she probably did my hair and put a little bowtie on me for that one. I definitely don’t have that outfit anymore, but maybe I should upgrade my wardrobe and see if I can get one.

Rick:
I think he was three years old or so there. Usually his mom or grandma dressed him up like that and did something funny with his hair. You can see how he dresses now with Troy Bodie in this photo from the Admirals Christmas party. That's kind of a good then and now [laughs].


Brandon:
I spent a lot of time with my grandma when I was little, and she used to do this little cowlick with my hair. Obviously I don’t look very pleased at the moment. That’s definitely not a hairstyle I’ll be trying to bring back.

Rick:
I think that was his first haircut. He wasn’t one for sitting in the chair for any great length of time, but we managed to settle him in for a bit, and grandma asked them to whip something up on top there.


Brandon:
That was a Meet the Canucks day, one of the highlights of my life when I was younger. I think I was 8 or 10 there and I lived in a little town called Tsawwassen, about 30 minutes from Vancouver. You got the opportunity to meet all the players. Todd Bertuzzi was my favorite player when I was growing up, so getting the chance to meet him was huge. And then obviously playing against him last year and the year before was a pretty cool experience as well.

Rick: Bertuzzi must have been in his early 20s there and Brandon would have been around 8. I was at the game last year in Detroit, sometime in November, when Brandon played with the Ducks against Bertuzzi. A co-worker and I went down to Windsor and took the bus over to see the game, and it blew me away to see Brandon playing against him.


Brandon:
This one with Mark Messier was the same day. It was pretty cool meeting a legend like him, and I got to meet him later in life when his son tried out for the Kelowna Rockets, where I was playing at the time. He’s just a classy guy and one of the best hockey players to ever play.


Brandon:
That was a plaque for Athlete of the Year for my school in Grade 7. I’m there with my mom, dad and sister. I played basketball and ran track back then, along with hockey. I don’t know where that Afro came from, but that was my style back in the day. I liked the long curly hair coming out of the back of the helmet, so I’m looking to bring that back maybe.

Rick: He liked to have a lot of hair when he was a kid, and that was pretty much a fro.


Brandon:
That’s probably one of the first days of one of my first years playing hockey. That was outside our house and I was heading out to morning practice. Back then you had to get ready at home and ride to the rink in all your gear. Those are classic Canucks jerseys. Those were the Canucks jerseys back then, and they wore those when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in ‘94.

Rick: Brandon would always be well-dressed before we even got out of the house. He’s got everything tied on there. I think he was five years old and we were taking him to a little tykes program down there in Delta.


Brandon:
That’s my sister Melissa and me. We’re either camping or we’re at a fireworks show in Vancouver. That’s definitely a cute little picture of us. I got along with her when we were younger, but now she’s in her teenage years and gets a little bit on my nerves.

Rick: That’s down in English Bay. We used to go down there in the summer and take in the fireworks. You know how it is with brother-sister love. It takes awhile to get past who gets the most attention from mom and dad.


Brandon:
This was in Vancouver at the old Coliseum where the Canucks used to play. My mom surprised me and took me to an event where they had all of the Hall of Fame pieces, including the Cup. I remember we actually got lost in downtown Vancouver trying to find the Coliseum, and my mom was a little bit nervous, but we got there eventually. It was a pretty cool experience.


Brandon:
I’ve never seen this picture before, but the sweatshirt comes from my dad’s side of the family. They’re all from Cold Lake, Alberta, north of Edmonton. That must have been my dad’s old hockey gear because that helmet is made of foam and the gloves are pretty old. Those are definitely some antiques.

Rick: That’s my old equipment from when I played in Alberta. You can see it’s a pretty wicked helmet, and I wore that when I was a kid. The gloves are from when I was a teenager. Aren’t those cool? Original leather, but a little too big for Brandon at that time.


Brandon:
I think I was 14 or 15, and it’s a little spring hockey team we put together, and we won the tournament. There are a few AHL players in there. Right to my right is Tyler Johnson, who played in Norfolk last year and is now at Syracuse. Martin Jones, the goalie on the left, plays in Manchester. Patrick Wiercioch is right above Martin Jones and he plays in Binghamton. Right to the right of him is Landon Ferraro, who plays in Grand Rapids. Probably more than half of those guys still play hockey and a few of them play pro. Ray Ferraro, who played in the NHL for a lot of years and is now a TSN announcer, is on the far right. He was a coach on that team. It was a pretty good team. The coaches were making fun of me because I hadn’t won anything before, so they let me hold the trophy.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.13.2012 / 5:14 PM
We had a pretty cool moment at Honda Center this evening, as Ducks season ticket holder Angel Castro of Santa Ana got engaged to his girlfriend Melissa at center ice.

Tonight is a holiday skating event for Ducks season ticket holders and mini plan holders, and Angel arranged the moment with his ticketing rep, Daniel Alvarez. To sell it, Angel convinced Melissa that they won a contest that included a signed Ryan Getzlaf stick and the opportunity to skate on the ice before the event started.

After hitting the ice with three of their cousins and posing for pictures with the stick, Angel slowly got on one knee and quietly made his proposal.

She said yes.

Here are a few photos

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.28.2012 / 11:56 AM

A couple of us here in the office were reminiscing about the '09 playoffs, when the Ducks knocked off the top-ranked Sharks and went seven games in a grueling series with Detroit (the eventual champ). We remembered where we were during that intense Game 7 and how much it broke our hearts when Dan Cleary scored the series-clinching goal for Detroit with little time remaining in regulation.

It all inspired me to go back and look up my blog post from that day. Here's a portion:

After it was all over, Detroit coach Mike Babcock called it “the best series I’ve been in since I’ve been in the league. For sure, the hardest series, most even, the least room.”

Later, he added, “What made this series so hard, what people don’t understand, is the people that have won know what it takes to win and they don’t give in."

And that's exactly what you can say about the Anaheim Ducks the past two months, a thrill ride that has us all in disbelief that it's come to a seemingly sudden end. I watched the game last night in a Newport Beach sports bar with about 30 fellow staffers, and there was a mix of reactions when that final horn sounded on the season. Some gazed at the TVs in disbelief. Some stared at their feet. A couple of the girls even cried. All of us felt sick to our stomachs. "Well," a friend of mine said, "at least we didn't go down like [expletive]s." (And by the way, he and several of his fellow Ducks ticket sales guys shaved their playoff beards into mustaches and took this photo today.)

It's pretty ironic that we're heartbroken the Ducks didn't make the conference finals, when not too long ago we didn't even think we'd be here at all. But this team teased us by never quitting. They teased us by charging into the playoffs, knocking off the top seed and fighting to the finish in a Game 7 against what is probably the best team in the league. To come that far and to come that close only made the elimination that much more heartbreaking. But, you know what? We wouldn't want it any other way. Sure the ending was harsh, but my what a great ride.

“When you’re that close, when you’re tied with a few minutes left, it’s a tough way to lose," Niedermayer said. "There are no easy ways to lose, I guess. It’s pretty disappointing, and you always think you can do more, but you look around the room, how some of these guys battled. There are a lot of guys who worked extremely hard. So I’m proud of a lot of guys, for sure.”

I think we all are.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.13.2012 / 7:20 AM
MORE PHOTOS
Yesterday, on a day typically reserved for pounding on keyboards, taking meetings and exchanging emails, the Ducks staff did something much cooler -- we made a school more beautiful.

Dozens of staffers, along with Ducks coaches, a broadcaster, a certain future Hall-of-Famer and several fans, were among the 150 volunteers to take to Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary School in Anaheim as part of the Anaheim Ducks Power PLAY! campus makeover project. A huge amount of credit for the project goes to Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, who donated the funds to make it happen.

It was Veteran’s Day, so the students had the day off, but the school’s teachers and staff also took part in the project, which involved the beautification of several aspects of the campus. Throughout the day, you could walk around the grounds (as I did) and constantly remark to yourself, “Wow, this is really cool.”

At one corner of the campus, a street hockey rink was being installed with the help of Ducks TV color analyst Brian Hayward. At another, raised garden beds and picnic tables were being put together -- which was the area I was assigned to. (I’ve never spent so much time with a power drill in my life.) On several of the buildings and handball courts, murals were being meticulously colored in. And all around the campus, trees were being planted, and among those getting his hands dirty while clad in the event's orange t-shirt was one Scott Niedermayer.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau and his family lent a hand as well, with Boudreau walking around and joking with the volunteers, brushing some paint on his t-shirt and face because he joked that it made him look busier.

"It's pretty eye-opening to see how many people are out here working away and changing this school," Niedermayer told a local reporter. "I think when the kids get here tomorrow morning, they're going to be in for a pretty big surprise."

That's me with Bruce and his self-inflicted paint.
Indeed, all of this will be unveiled to the kids today in a special ceremony. The day will double as one of the Ducks' Reading is the Goal days in which staffers (including myself) read to kids in their classrooms, followed by street hockey and an assembly. Mattie Lou Maxwell was chosen from among more than 300 area schools for this project as one of the first schools in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program (www.ducksscore.com), which was developed in 2005 with the goal of making a positive impact with youth in local schools and hockey communities throughout Southern California.

The kids at Maxwell will hopefully feel that impact, one that was certainly made on all of us who got to be part of that project. To me, that was most evident at the end of the day, when all of the work was finished. A good part of the staff stood with each other in our orange t-shirts, laughing and sharing old stories for another hour or so. 

We were surrounded by these beautiful murals, fresh-planted trees and new gardens, and I kept thinking to myself: It isn't that we have to be here. It's just that we want to be.

Frankly, I can't wait to be back there again today when the kids see it all.

Take a look at the photos

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.07.2012 / 11:12 AM
In the second episode of our new web series -- Bruce Boudreau Uncensored ... Kind Of -- the Ducks head coach touches on more topics, including his first hockey memories and the experience of being on HBO's 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: The Road to the Winter Classic back when he was Washington's coach in 2010.

While he talks about how thorough HBO was covering him and his team, what fans remember most from that series is how many expletives Boudreau used in an intermission locker room talk to his team during the first episode.

"It's funny. First of all, they aired it on a Wednesday or a Thursday night, and I knew they were airing it that day. I asked our PR guy if I cursed in the first episode. He looked at me and rolled his eyes and he said, 'Yes. You used the one certain word 17 times in 41 seconds,' which I don't even remember doing. I remember doing it every other time because I was [conscious] that the camera was rolling.

"The next day, once my mom watched it, I got a pretty good tongue-lashing from her. She told me not to use those kinds of words on TV anymore because she wouldn't be able to go out in public anymore. So, I got chastised by my mother for swearing."


As I write in the last blog post, I can't begin to tell you how great Bruce was to work with, not only in answering the dozen or so questions we gave him, but in coming up with his own wrinkles. In fact, the title of the segment, along with the introduction to it, was his idea.

We shot about 15-20 minutes worth of footage, which we'll use in this segment and future ones. And we plan to shoot more with him down the road, using questions submitted to us by fans on Twitter. (You can submit your own using the hastag #BUKO on Twitter).


The rest of episode 2 is below, and in case you missed it, here's episode 1. Look for the next segment soon, and if you'd like to submit .
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POSTED ON Friday, 11.02.2012 / 11:04 AM
In the first episode of our new web series -- Bruce Boudreau Uncensored ... Kind Of -- the Ducks head coach touches on a number of topics focusing both on and off the ice. Included in the discussion are players currently at AHL Norfolk he's excited about, the proudest moment of his hockey career and the his most embarrassing moment as a coach.

I can't begin to tell you how great Bruce was to work with, not only in answering the dozen or so questions we gave him, but in coming up with his own wrinkles. In fact, the title of the segment, along with the introduction to it, was his idea.

We shot about 15-20 minutes worth of footage, which we'll use in this segment and future ones. And we plan to shoot more with him down the road, using questions submitted to us by fans on Twitter. (You can submit your own using the hastag #BUKO on Twitter).

Here's a snippet from episode 1:

"We were playing on the day after Christmas when I was coaching in Hershey, and we had to go to Bridgeport. What we would do was, we would get in our sweatsuit [for the bus ride] and it was a four-hour drive to Bridgeport. And when you get to the game, you put your suit on. It just so happened that day, when I was changing for the game, I’ve got my shirt and my jacket and everything else – I forgot my pants.

"After the laughter from [assistant coach] Bob Woods and our GM subsided, it was, “I’ve got no pants. What are we going to do?” So, we decided, Okay, me and Bob would wear sweatsuits on the bench that day. At the last moment, our radio guy was named John Walton, and he was wearing pants. So on the bus, I said, 'Come on. Let’s switch.' And he says, 'You’re never going to get into them. They’re a 32 waist.' But I did.

“Believe it or not, they were tight. They were so tight, I never moved one inch from behind the bench. If the puck had been shot at me, I was done. I couldn’t move. I could barely breath. Bob was doing line changes, and I was just holding my breath the whole game. We had quite a laugh about that afterward, because we won the game. Off the top of my head, that’s about as embarrassing as I could get.”

Here's the rest of episode 1. Look for more segments down the road.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 9:10 AM
A longtime colleague is leaving the hockey industry for another opportunity, and this morning he wrote a farewell email to everyone he worked with that included this:

All I can say is thank you so much for giving me a little slice of my life that I’ll never ever forget. Through the insanity of every workday and the hours a person in your positions need to be put in to help your clubs be successful -- Never, ever forget that you work for -- hands-down -- the greatest game in the entire world. I defy anyone to watch another sport and say their players are as rugged & dedicated as they are gentlemen and approachable off the ice.

These days, especially, those are words to live by.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.02.2012 / 4:59 PM
Chances are you didn't realize this, but today is the 20th anniversary of the opening of a Disney movie called The Mighty Ducks, which was released to audiences on October 2, 1992.

Chances are you DO know this, that the Disney movie -- starring Emilio Estevez as "a self-centered lawyer sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team" -- spawned two sequels, an animated series and of course led to the creation of the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. (Here's some trivia: In the UK and Australia, the film was titled Champions. UK video/DVD releases are now titled The Mighty Ducks Are the Champions)

While the movie got less-than-stellar reviews and grossed $50 million at the box office, it still resonates 20 years later (although, I have to admit, I never saw it myself).

The team was purchased from the Walt Disney Co. by Henry and Susan Samueli in 2007, the home arena was eventually changed from The Pond to Honda Center and the logo and team colors were also changed. Yet the spirit of the old Mighty Ducks endures. That iconic duckbill-shaped goalie mask logo is displayed on a sleeve patch on the Ducks' popular third jersey, and you still see countless purple and jade jerseys at Honda Center. Most of all, the memories of that movie, and its effect on fans' love for the Ducks and the game hockey, lives on.

On the Ducks Facebook page, we asked fans to share what that movie meant to them, and here are some of the best responses.





































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POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.18.2012 / 10:33 AM

David McNab, the Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and a Ducks exec since the team's inaugural season in 1993-94, has treated some of the staff lately by bringing in some archives from his late father Max McNab's NHL career.

A few days ago, he brought in the Detroit Red Wings jersey (they were of course called "sweaters" back then) that Max wore during the 1950 Stanley Cup-winning season. Here's David posing with the sweater.



This morning, McNab showed off a couple more beauties. This is the replica of the top of the Stanley Cup that each player was awarded back in those days (teams didn't start giving rings until the late '50s). It may be hard to see, but this side of the cup says DETROIT HOCKEY CLUB, INC. and below is reads MAXWELL MCNAB.



The other side: NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, followed by STANLEY CUP WINNERS 1949-50.



Meanwhile, this chalice was awarded to each player on the team with the best regular season record (what is now the Presidents' Cup).

Very cool for David to bring this in and give us all an up-close look at some hockey history.

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 33 22 9 2 102 67 46
3 STL 33 21 9 3 100 81 45
4 NSH 31 21 8 2 87 64 44
5 SJS 34 19 11 4 97 87 42
6 VAN 32 19 11 2 92 90 40
7 WPG 33 17 10 6 80 76 40
8 LAK 34 17 11 6 94 84 40
9 CGY 35 17 15 3 100 95 37
10 MIN 31 16 12 3 91 84 35
11 DAL 31 13 13 5 89 104 31
12 COL 32 11 13 8 83 100 30
13 ARI 32 11 17 4 74 104 26
14 EDM 33 7 20 6 69 110 20

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 34 12 25 7 37
R. Kesler 35 11 15 -2 26
S. Vatanen 35 9 15 -1 24
C. Perry 23 14 8 11 22
M. Beleskey 35 15 3 11 18
C. Fowler 34 3 14 1 17
J. Silfverberg 35 4 12 3 16
H. Lindholm 34 4 11 12 15
P. Maroon 27 2 12 -5 14
D. Smith-Pelly 31 4 8 3 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28
F. Andersen 18 5 4 .913 2.41

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