Look, I'm not much of a hockey fan—I prefer sports like basketball, football, baseball and soccer over guys skating around on ice—but I'm absolutely a near-obsessed fan of the '90s movie The Mighty Ducks, which I still watch way too regularly.
In fact, just last night I decided that, since my girlfriend was working a night shift at the hospital, I would pop on D2: The Mighty Ducks and relive the glory that became one of the most shocking upsets in sports movie history.
While sitting there watching Gordon Bombay work his magic on Team USA during their march to the Junior Goodwill Games gold medal, I couldn't help but ask myself one simple question—"Is the infamous Flying V really a legal hockey play?"
In fact, it's probably something you've asked yourself, too.
Well, after digging into the bowels of the Internet, I was able to find a piece published by Yahoo! Sports back in 2014 which had a former NHL ref, Kerry Fraser, answer this burning question. Here's Fraser's in-depth reply:
"Upon further review the Mighty Ducks remained onside as the puck was advanced to Jessie Hall at the front of the Flying-V just prior to crossing their attacking blue line. The Flying-V moved up ice as Harry Hall of the Mighty Ducks carried the puck from a protected, safe and legal position at the back of the V. Just prior to gaining their attacking blue line, the puck was passed through the legs and onto the stick of the lead Duck in the V; #9 Jessie Hall."
"After gaining possession of the puck, Jessie Hall advanced the puck across the leading edge of the blue line with his stick and then pulled up to protect the puck from defenders and to allow his wingers to attack the net. Once the puck crosses the leading edge of the blue line all attacking players are eligible to enter the zone and deemed to be on-side. It is also important to note that an attacking player's skates and not that of his stick are the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side as per rule 83. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line prior to the puck crossing that same leading edge. Jessie Hall got the puck across the leading edge of the attacking blue line and his teammates then entered the zone legally on-side."
"Further to this rule a player actually controlling the puck, who crosses the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered off-side. If the attacking player is deemed to have "possession and control" of the puck he can actually skate backwards across the blue line with the puck on his stick. (In this situation the player's skates are allowed to cross the leading edge of the blue line prior to the puck!)"
Thanks to Fraser, we now know that Bombay's most lethal formation was, in fact, something that NHL teams could really get away with using—if only they had the players with the skill like Charlie Conway, Jessie Hall and Adam Banks leading the charge.