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How I Became a (Geographically Misplaced) Ducks Fan

"It's because of the movie, isn't it?" -everyone

The REAL duck dynasty
The REAL duck dynasty

[Ed. Note: Over the course of this week we'll have four new writers debuting on the site, first up is Ben Nierengarten. -CK]

How’s it going, AC readers? I’m new around these parts, so allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Ben Nierengarten. I was born and raised just outside of Denver, Colorado, and I'm currently grinding through my senior year at the University of Minnesota. I’ve also been a Ducks fan for almost my whole life. I’ve caused some confusion over the years about this fact, since both of my parents hail from Minnesota, most of my family still lives in Minnesota, I grew up in Avalanche Territory, and I have absolutely no ties to the state of California whatsoever. It's ridiculous how many times I've been asked something along the lines of, "Why are you a Duck fan? Shouldn’t you like the Avs or the Wild?" Regardless, it’s a valid question, and this seems like a reasonable place to explain how I made my entrance into this great fanbase.

When I was 4 or 5 years old, my mom had a friend with a son who was my age. His parents were set on the idea that he was going to make it to the NHL one day, so they had him in skates since he could walk. One day, he taught me how to play hockey on his back porch and even though he absolutely ran my show, my love for the sport was born.

After we were done, he took me up to his room and showed me one of his coloring books that featured a group of ducks playing hockey and fighting monsters. Naturally, as a kindergartner, this was one of the most awesome things I’d ever seen. He let me keep the coloring book and I went home happier than a pig in mud.

A day or two later, I was watching the Disney channel when a theme song came on that I didn’t recognize.


It took me all of about 10 seconds for me to notice that these were the same ducks that were in my new coloring book. Naturally, as a kindergartner who was obsessed with Disney in the 90’s (and really, what kid with good taste wasn’t), this was one of the most awesome things I’d ever seen.

Nostalgia break!

Mighty Ducks Intro (via chaotichazeleyes)

A couple more days later, I was reading the Denver Post with my dad. He was always big on grabbing the sports section first, and as he flipped through the paper, there was a box score in the NHL section that caught my eye.


Hold the phone. So this is an actual team? Like a real-life team made up of real-life players and not just a cartoon? My little mind was blown in ways unimaginable. Naturally, as a kindergartner who felt like Sherlock Holmes after discovering that crucial connection that solves the mystery, this was one of the most awesome things I’d ever seen.

Ever since then, I’ve been a committed Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks fan, through good times and bad, and have loved every minute of it.

Well, I’m done talking about myself. Thanks for sticking it out with me as I get my feet wet here at Anaheim Calling. I’m really excited to start contributing on here and talking some puck with all you fine people!

Signing off until next time, Go Ducks!