Alex encourages Evan to create his own team, which she will eventually coach because no one else will. Nick (Maxwell Simkins), a neighborhood kid and courageous podcaster, steps into the fold – even though he has no equipment – and it’s two. A team comes together in a slightly fun and supposedly inspiring way, like when Evan gives a big speech in a crowded cafeteria. The new recruits from different cliques of the school rise up in a moment of triumph; the sneering bullies laugh at them. But it’s the formation of a team, a bunch of wacky kids. They call themselves “Don’t Bothers”. When they start to practice, they barely have any material or know how to shoot.
The series is built to include Emilio Estevez, the “Mighty Ducks” man himself, who plays revered trainer Gordon Bombay and is possibly the biggest part of the “Mighty Ducks” special brand. As the owner of the Ice Palace, the ramshackle rink where the Don’t Bothers train, he’s kind of a grumpy guru to Alex and Evan – Estevez has sharp jokes with Graham in some scenes. Evan also sneaks up to declaim in Bombay, part of a growing intrigue about Evan growing outside of Alex’s training methods (she even gives them participation trophies before the first game).
But what’s important about these episodes is that Bombay says he hates hockey and is bitter to have nothing to show for what he did with the Ducks. This creates a tedious conflict, for a series they lacked, in which he is expected to end up embracing hockey again and having a sunnier demeanor. The forces that make him bitter are only sketched out, even when he gives a full monologue about his past. Might as well get there if he wants to serve the same purpose.
In the first three episodes, “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” actually goes back to the same types of rhythms: getting a group of kids to work together and an underrated trainer. Everyone is eager to prove themselves on the team, but this show is not. One of the major subplots is a crush Nick has on Winnie (Em Haine), the young woman who hands out hot chocolate at the Ice Palace. It doesn’t mean much, and it’s only slightly funny, but the show spends time in it maybe because there are only a few hockey sequences that can fill the runtime.