Coach Gordon Bombay is being replaced on The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers on Disney+.
The show, which is set in Minneapolis but not filmed in Minnesota, has cast North Dakota's Josh Duhamel, who is a Vikings fan, as Coach Gavin Cole. Cole is a former NHL player-turned coach who runs a super intense hockey institute where the players will be in season two, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Coach Cole is described as "inspirational, charming, hardcore [and] big on the hockey metaphor that applies to life," according to People Magazine.
Duhamel, 49, is replacing Emilio Estevez, who starred as Coach Bombay in all three Mighty Ducks films and season one of the Disney+ series. His departure comes after an apparent contract dispute with Disney's ABC Signature, which produces the show, Hollywood Reporter says.
The studio had asked the cast to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and Estevez reportedly declined to share his vaccination status. Though he has disputed that he's anti-vaxx and instead attributed his departure from the show as nothing more than a contract disagreement, reports state.
"The legacy of the franchise was more important to me than my own health. In retrospect, I wrongly chose to protect the show over being transparent about having contracted Covid-19," Estevez wrote in a statement, according to reports. "Simply put, I am anti-bully. My exit from the show was due to a myriad of creative differences — any other narrative is false."
The show also stars Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls fame, who plays the mom of a 12-year-old hockey player who gets cut from the District 5 team, so they set out to build their own team with Bombay as the coach.
The 10-episode first season premiered on Disney+ in March 2021. A premiere date for season two hasn't been announced.