Guy Hebert paid the toll for former Disney CEO
"Two nights before our first game, they gave us a parade down Main Street in
There was no gimmick to building the team, allowing wise hockey men such as then-general manager Jack Ferreira and assistant David McNab — the current Ducks senior vice president of hockey operations — to assemble the roster.
Ferreira, now an assistant to
The first-year jade-and-eggplant-colored Ducks proceeded to break an NHL record for road victories (19) and tie the expansion record for wins (33).
Sunday night at
Current players will dress in the old uniforms, and the arena will be decorated in a 1993 theme and offer some 93-cent concessions.
"I couldn't believe the league let us be named this, as if a Disney team was being dropped on the ice," then-Ducks left wing Stu Grimson said. "But in how we established our identity, you'll now get no argument about what a reputable franchise it is. Any time they come to your town, you know you've got a battle on your hands."
Center Terry Yake, plucked from Hartford, stepped up to produce a team-best 52 points. Defenseman Bobby Dollas was plus-20 in goal differential. Troy Loney, having won a
"Our leading scorer finished with 78 less points than
Grimson said the bonding was nurtured by the clumsiness of a franchise going through its first year.
• A lapse in arena security once allowed Todd Ewen's son, Chad, to walk into the Ducks' dressing room during a game and say, "Dad, I need $5 for a hot dog."
• The night-time flying curfew at John Wayne Airport forced the team to fly home to Los Angeles, making travel drudgery, Grimson said.
• Exhibition games were like the movie Mighty Ducks' would've been, with mismatched white helmets and eggplant jerseys cobbled together for the sake of comfort.
Hebert said the roster included "some guys having their last kick at the can," and they found motivation in the idea "they were pretty dispensable if they were not performing."
"We knew what we were, a bunch of NHL third- and fourth-liners," Grimson said. "But we had character guys. Yes, we took our lumps many nights, but that character held us together when things got roughest."
Grimson — an enforcer known as the "Grim Reaper" — held up his end of the bargain by compiling 199 penalty minutes.
"I was a guy like the others who took pride in what I did," he said. "It wasn't glamorous work, but it was glamorous in the context that you appreciated how much the other guys valued that work. We could look after ourselves. We didn't get a lot of sand kicked in our faces."
The Mighty Ducks reached the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in their fourth season, 1996-97, and won a series over the Phoenix Coyotes.
By the time they reached the 2002-03 Stanley Cup finals, Hebert and Grimson were retired, but the franchise's first entry draft pick, Paul Kariya, had contributed 81 points.
And the No. 2 pick overall in 1994, Oleg Tverdovsky? In 1996, he was traded to the
The Ducks dropped the "Mighty" before the 2006-07 season.
Hebert, now living in Newport Beach, said although he never kissed the Stanley Cup, he's content.
"Any athlete will tell you they just want to be appreciated for giving it all they had, knowing every night when you put your head on that pillow after a game you had nothing left in the tank," Hebert said.
"We looked around at the end, with those 33 wins, knowing the history of what past expansion teams had done, and we each felt we did our best to be good parts of the puzzle."
When: 5 p.m
Where: Honda Center.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Record vs. Senators (2012-13): Did not play.