In the pantheon of cimenatic sports innovation, the Flying-V from “The Mighty Ducks” is right up there with the “Triple Lindy” from “Back To School”, the “floater” from “Rookie Of The Year” and the “Crane” from “The Karate Kid."
It’s the ultimate example of Ducks flying together, as all five skaters enter the attacking zone to protect the puck, resulting in a goal. The move was repeated in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and remains, along with the “knucklepuck,” an endearing part of the film series’ history.
Incidentally, the legality of the Flying-V has always been debated, as it appeared two Ducks entered the zone before the puck arrived. But now we have a definitive ruling, from no less an authority as former NHL ref and current TSN pundit Kerry Fraser.
Fraser, via Bar Down, analyzed several plays in “The Mighty Ducks” including the Flying-V, and declared the controversial move was … LEGAL.
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!)
Well that was thorough.
Outside of the fact that Fraser, to our knowledge, doesn’t actually have a copy of the Minnesota District 5 rulebook, it’s a fun read. We eagerly await Fraser ruling on the legality of Happy Gilmore using his golf club as a pool cue.