Christmas Review – “Hockey Champ”

The second of three shorts used to introduce
“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” was “The Hockey Champ.”

Cast and Crew

Voices by Clarence Nash

Written by Carl Banks and Jack Hannah

Directed by Jack King

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as a part of Walt Disney Treasures: The
Chronological Donald Vol. 1

Past TV reviews can be found here.

Original Airdate

Hockey Champ premiered in theaters in 1939,
but is probably
best known as a segment on the annual broadcast of
Christmas Carol
on The Wonderful World of


Donald plays hockey against his nephews.

High Point

The retractable trophy he carries in his pocket.

Low Point

There were some out of character moments. The main
one was the figure
skating opening; I just don’t see Donald getting that
good at artistic
skating. (He strikes me as the kind of guy who’d
play hockey for the
fights as much as the game.) The nephews also seemed
a bit nastier in
the end than they do elsewhere.

The Review

It’s not terribly original. It’s a
fictional hockey game
played by mean people. Some of the sight gags were
unique, though. I
give it 4 out of 6.

The animation was classic Disney. We’ve got
panning cameras,
distinct facial expressions, and a true Disney
hallmark in the visual
transformations. (For example, snow and a hockey
stick to make Donald
look like a train, fallen icicles to make him look
like a devil, a
snow beard, and the like.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is sparse, barely relevant, and
suddenly ended. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The voice acting isn’t bad. It was just
Clarence Nash doing
the voices, but there’s barely a distinction between
Donald and his
nephews, and none at all among the nephews. Mostly,
it’s the typical
emotion-light stuff of the cartoons with funny
voices. I give it 4
out of 6.

The emotional response is decent. It has
its moments, but
the complete package is a bit wanting. I give it 4
out of 6.

The production is typical of Disney shorts
from the late
1930s. We’ve got very good sound, decent cameras,
and pretty good
editing. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable but unremarkable
cartoon, which is
probably why it’s best known as an opening chapter to
Christmas Carol
. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The Hockey Champ receives 29 out
of 42.