The Hockey Champ

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : April 28, 1939

Running Time : 7:31


Donald "The Hockey Champion of Duck Swamp" plays a game of hockey with his nephews.


Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie


Jack King
Asst. Director
Lloyd Richardson
Harry Teitel
Lee Morehouse
Paul Allen
Eric Larson
Max Gray
George Rowley
Berny Wolf
Don Towsley
Jack Gayek
Edwin Aardal
Seamus Culhane
John McManus
Larry Clemmons
(?) Amatunzio
Bill Herwig

Cut Scenes

A scene showing Donald hanging by a noose in a well was cut at one time.


Tick, Trick und Tracks Größte Hits
Goofys Lustige Sportschau
Le Meilleur de Riri, Fifi, LouLou
Donald et Dingo allias Goofy Champions Olympiques
Pippo Olimpionico
I Capolavori di Qui Quo Qua


Donald Duck : A Star is Born


United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 5 : Extreme Sports Fun
Sports Spass Superstars
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 5 : Extreme Sports Fun
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1


The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 34: Donald's Nephews
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 33

Original Animator's Drafts

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

Page 10

Page 11

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.


From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : 1939 is a big year for Donald Duck. I would argue that it is the beginning of his ascendancy to the top spot in Disney’s cartoon pantheon, and I’m sure most of you would agree with me. His shorts are the most consistent and funny efforts from the Disney studio during this period. The Hockey Champ is no exception.

This one has a just plain hilarious opening sequence, as Donald attempts to imitate skating legend Sonia Hennie. He even does his feathers up into Hennie’s signature hairdo, and spends the first couple minutes of the short circling around the frozen pond making spectacular leaps and twirls in his skates. If it doesn’t sound funny, just watch it.

The real action, though, is when Huey, Dewey and Louie show up to try and play hockey. Donald reveals that he was the hockey champion of Duck Swamp, which is an acknowledgement of the full life of the duck beyond what we’ve seen on screen. Carl Barks, the animator who would go on to produce the majority of Donald’s back story in the comics, was a contributor to the Donald shorts at this time, so I wonder if this was his influence.

Of course, this leads to Donald challenging the boys to a hockey match. At first, things go swimmingly for Donald, as he repeats his Sonia Hennie performance only this time with a stick and the puck. The parallels between the first part of the short and this middle portion are quite well done, both showing Donald as extremely capable on the ice. It’s nice as a structure for the short.

As in every Donald short, though, pride gets him in trouble. He plays the boys blindfolded, and the result is a furious dash through the snow and ice trying to catch the puck. This is where we really get to see the rapid fire gags and amazing quick animation come to life. There are points when watching the shorts that I get sucked in and quit looking at story structure or animation quality, and this is one of those times.

Donald’s nephews are such great foils for him, not just in this short, but overall. Because they combine childlike innocence with overwhelming mischief that is the perfect contrast to Donald’s bragging and prideful nature. Combine that with the frustration that makes Donald so funny, and it works beautifully.

You could say that Donald’s shorts are formulaic – Donald sees something, tries to take control of it, and gets frustrated by it – and you’d be right. But if you have a winning formula, as long as you do it well, it’s okay. Donald’s formula is done very well, and The Hockey Champ is no exception to that.

From Mac : It's true that Donald has become the big star at Disney. The Silly Symphony series has just ended, Goofy and Pluto's solo series are getting off to a very slow start and the Mickey cartoons see to be becoming fewer and further between. The Donald Duck cartoons are definitely the main Disney series now.

This one's a lot of fun with a lot of Max Hare style gags as Donald shows off his skills. I do enjoy that he really is a hockey champ and that it's not just an idle brag. Of course he can't just stop at showing off and has to try to taunt and humiliate the boys as well leading to very justified revenge!

From Ryan : This short was pretty good. The animation was wonderful and the plot was great. Seeing the trophy pop up as Donald pushed the button was kinda neat.
From Dino Cencia : Another funny Donald vs the nephews short. My favorite part is when the puck hit Donald in the snow and it looked he was an old duck. Another funny part is when one of the nephews grabbed Donald by the scarf and he spun around and hit a tree and icicles came down on Donald and he had devil horns on him and an icicle pitchfork and the nephews said "Uncle Donald is the devil!" Great cartoon of Donald and his nephews. I give this a 90.
From Baruch Weiss : Aside from the title and end presentation of this cartoon I enjoyed the beginning with Donald Ice Skating and imitating Sonja Henie, but aside from that I did not care for it as I am not a hockey fan or a fan of sports in general.
From Richard Sutor, Ph. D : Disney was a master at merchandising his cartoons and characters. As a child I owned several Disney puzzles. When my boys were little, in the 1970's I was surprised to find a "large piece" puzzle of a still from this cartoon on sale in a local store. My boys and I had many hours of fun building it over and over. Little did we suspect that years later someone would invent the DVD player and Disney would create the Disney Treasures sets that allowed us to own this cartoon. The three of us have also gotten a lot of enjoyment out of watching the cartoon and spotting the exact frame which had been used for the puzzle.

Referenced Comments