Wednesday, 21 April 2021

No Mickey Mouse Teams

By now, we all know that the Anaheim Ducks came to be in the NHL due to the Walt Disney Corporation buying an expansion franchise in Anaheim. After the surprising success of the Mighty Ducks franchise, the NHL decided that hockey was something they wanted to explore, and they made that happen when they announced the team name on March 1, 1993. None of that has anything do with Canada West, of course, but four years after the Mighty Ducks broke into the NHL, Canadian Interuniversity Sports - the old name for U SPORTS - got its act together and began running the National Women's Hockey Championship annually which has seen some amazing performance by a number of teams at the tournament, most notably by Canada West teams!

With ten championships won by Canada West, that conference holds the lead at National Championship tournaments for winners. The RSEQ is right behind them with eight championships while the OUA has four to its name. The AUS has yet to bring home a championship, but they've been in one final as the St. Francis-Xavier X-Women fell to Wilfred Laurier in 2011, but there are great programs currently being built on the east coast!

Because Canada West holds the championship lead right now and because I started yapping about Disney and hockey, it's time for another mashup of pop culture and Canada West teams! It's time to throw some Canada West onto Disney characters and have a chuckle about this mashup!

I want to be clear here in that there are no main characters from any Disney cartoon used for these images because it's not about the characters per se. Rather, this is about finding characters that fit the teams' needs. Every character used is a secondary character from the main protagonists with a few anatagonists used, but that should be no reflection on the team, school, players, or anything else about that program. In short, there are no evil hockey programs in the Disney-Canada West universe!

Let's have some fun with this by not taking it too seriously because here are the Canada West teams represented as Disney characters from the Disney universe!

Manitoba Bisons

Name: Junior
Movie: Home on the Range

The search for any bisons in the Disney universe proved challenging as there are cattle, African buffalo, and wildebeests used, but Junior makes for a representative for the Manitoba Bisons. Junior comes across as "very serious-minded and imperturbable" in the film which is how the Manitoba Bisons approach every game. Make no mistake, though, as both Junior and the Bisons have a fun side they show when the work is done, namely winning hockey games! Junior's dedication to his job is never questioned in the movie, and the Bisons are extremely dedicated to the game on the ice!

Regina Cougars

Name: Bagheera
Movie: The Jungle Book

Wise and protective of Mowgli, Bagheera is a blank panther. Cougars and panthers, for those in the know, have their terms interchanged depending on what part of the world from which one hails. "Cougar" is derived from an old South American Indian word, cuguacuarana, while "panther" is a general term for cats that have solid-colored coats. Unlike the Disney version of Bagheera, the Regina Cougars resemble more of the Rudyard Kipling version of the cat - sassy, cheerful, somewhat reckless, and cunning. Translated from Hindi, "Bagheera" means "black tiger" which is a good metaphor for how big the Cougars play when they hit the ice!

Saskatchewan Huskies

Name: Hansel
Movie: 101 Dalmatian Street

Hansel is from the Disney television cartoon 101 Dalmatian Street as the Disney universe doesn't have many huskies in it. That being said, Hansel is a close friend of the Dalmatian family, and is completely into poetry proving his smarts! Like Hansel, the Sasktachewan Huskies show their smarts both in the classroom and on the ice, regularly showing up on the Honour Roll and at the top of the Canada West standings. Hansel's claim of chasing cats to be "so cliche" is definitely opposite of the Saskatchewan Huskies who seem to enjoy going after the cats found in Canada West, particularly in their own province!

Calgary Dinos

Name: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Movie: Fantasia

As we know, Fantasia combines symphonic music with cartoons, and the fourth segment of Fantasia known as "The Rite of Spring" was set to Igor Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps". The tyrannosaurus upsets the dinosaur world with his appearance as he's there to kill, and that's fairly similar to the Calgary Dinos as they look to feast on Canada West opponents. Without a doubt, both the T-Rex in Fantasia and the Dinos in Canada West are apex predators. And in a rather cool tie-in to the Disney universe as we go full-circle here, the Mighty Ducks television cartoon produced by Waly Disney featured an episode titled "Jurassic Puck" which had two Tyrannosaurus Rexes in it!

Mount Royal Cougars

Name: Sabor
Movie: Tarzan

Sabor is a leopard which means she can't change her spots, but she's turning into a cougar for this article. She's a feared predator in Tarzan due to her quickness and aggressiveness, and that's very similar to the Mount Royal Cougars who often strike quickly, strike often, and are always in their opponent's faces. Sabor uses speed and agility to out-duel brute strength in the film, and the Cougars do the same on the ice with their team speed in frustrating the best teams. Like Sabor, the Mount Royal Cougars are not a team with which to trifle or take lightly.

Alberta Pandas

Name: Peter the Panda
Movie: Phineas and Ferb

Peter the Panda hails from the Phineas and Ferb television cartoon, and it a secret agent from Seattle which is not Alberta. Peter, though, is entirely silent and extremely proficient at his job, making him very similar to the Alberta Pandas who quietly go about their business in dismantling the rest of Canada West. Peter and the Pandas also share a common theme in that they always seem to win over their opponents, and have traveled to exotic locales where they've down their opposition, notably for Alberta at National Championship tournaments. There may be no known way to beat Peter or the Alberta Pandas except luck.

MacEwan Griffins

Name: Mother Griffin
Movie: Aladdin

The number of griffins/gryphons in the Disney universe is very limited, but Mother Griffin from the Aladdin television series fit nicely despite looking slightly different than the MacEwan Griffin. Nonetheless, Mother Griffin shows up in Getizstan after her egg is stolen which she wants back, and it seems that the MacEwan Griffins have arrived in Canada West to recover their championship status against the eight teams who stand in their way. As Aladdin and his crew proved, it takes a team to defeat the Griffins and claim victory.

Trinity Western Spartans

Name: Apollo
Movie: Hercules

Apollo is the God of Sun in Greek mythology and dresses like a Spartan. With Disney venturing into Greek mythology so rarely, there weren't many choices for Spartans. No one will confuse Trinity Western players as goddesses in their first season, but they will certainly test the limits of their skills in every game. Not as powerful as Zeus, Apollo is seen as second-in-command on Mount Olympus, similar to how the Trinity Western Spartans will start out when compared to UBC in British Columbia. I suspect it won't be long before they're challenging UBC's reign!

UBC Thunderbirds

Name: Zazu
Movie: The Lion King

It might seem odd that I chose Zazu to represent the Thunderbirds considering that he's responsible for order in the Pride Lands in The Lion King while the Thunderbirds often seem to bring chaos to their opponents with their speed and physicality. However, if you watch the Thunderbirds in action, you'll see they are methodic, persistent, and play the game with a lot of smarts - similar characteristics to how Zazu carries himself as the royal advisor to Mufasa and Simba. While Zazu's overall arc in the original animated film is small, the Thunderbirds are always in the mix in Canada West!

Did I miss on any of these characters? Yes, I know some Pixar characters might be a better choice - Rex from Toy Story or Kevin from Up as examples - but I'm not that skilled in the Photoshopping world yet to redesign computer-animated figures with their three-dimensional bodies and shadowing and all that. Besides, the old animated-by-hand-and-cels cartoons have a certain charm that can't be reproduced by Pixar despite how good the Pixar movies are.

Notice how I never once mentioned Canada West as "the Magic Kingdom"? That seemed a little far-fetched when you consider that the Canada West teams are always in a dogfight for goals and points right down to the final buzzer in every game. That being said, some games have the elegance and flow of the monorails you see floating from theme park to theme park at DisneyWorld while other games are better suited for a soundstage full of stunts at MGM Studios!

Leave me a comment if you want to see any other characters from Disney movies mashed up with Canada West teams! Projects like this are fun and let me work on those barely-there Photoshop skills I need to improve!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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