Duhamel will star opposite Lauren Graham as the new character Gavin Cole, a former NHL player-turned-coach. Inspirational, charming, hardcore -- he’s big on the hockey metaphor that applies to life. He runs the super-intense summer hockey institute where The Mighty Ducks land for season 2.
The actor seemingly replaces Emilio Estevez, who exited the series after the first season. The actor, who portrayed Coach Gordon Bombay in the original films, released a lengthy statement about his exit in November. Estevez wrote that his exit from the Disney+ show was not because he was against vaccinations but instead "nothing more than a good old fashioned contract dispute."
Estevez shared that in August of 2020, after contracting COVID-19, he "reluctantly soldiered on" but was uncertain about how he would be safe on set. "I questioned the wisdom of returning to make a tv show in the middle of a pandemic and how actors could be considered 'essential workers,'" he wrote in part.
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Watch the Original 'Mighty Ducks' Squad's Sweet Reunion on Disney Plus' 'Game Changers' (Exclusive)
ET confirmed that the show's producer, DTS’s ABC Signature, decided not to pick up Estevez’s option for season 2 after the actor, through his reps, declined to provide assurances that he would comply with the show’s new policy requiring to comply with the COVID vaccinations for the cast and crew in Zone A.
As for Duhamel, he most recently starred in the Netflix series Jupiter Legacy. He'll also be seen in NBC’s The Thing About Pam alongside Renee Zellweger, which is set to release on March 8.
The actor, who also got engaged earlier this month, co-stars in Jennifer Lopez's upcoming rom-com Shotgun Wedding. ET spoke with Duhamel last year about working with J.Lo, where he called her a "force of nature."
"She is a force of nature, that girl. She's a lot of fun to work with," he said. "I had known her for years, but I had never had a chance to work with her. I mean, she's super professional, she’s a lot of fun, she's funny, and we just clicked right off the bat."