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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Anaheim lives the fairytale
By Kevin Asseo

Anaheim Mighty Ducks celebrate reaching the Stanley Cup Finals
The Ducks have reached the Stanley Cup finals for the first time
For 90% of America, there is only one thing that comes to mind when thinking about Anaheim in California.

It is that cute little fellow with the big ears and funny voice - and we are not talking about Ducks' goalie Jean-Sébastien Giguere.

No matter how famous the Ducks and their French-Canadian superstar goalie may be right now, they still cannot hold a candle to Mickey Mouse, Anaheim's most celebrated resident.

Anaheim has been the site of the Disneyland amusement park since 1955, but the city has been making quite a name for itself on the sports landscape as well of late.

First, Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels won the World Series last October with an amazing Cinderella run.

And then, the National Hockey League's Mighty Ducks found themselves in a game seven decider in the Stanley Cup Finals before finally losing to the New Jersey Devils.

Is it coincidence, or is some of that Disney "magic" rubbing off on the local teams?

It is possible, especially since the mammoth Disney media empire owns both sides (although the corporation has recently announced its intentions to sell the teams and get out of the business of sport.)

The Angels know what it takes to win and if we can feed off what they did, it would be an extra feather in our hat.
Ducks' Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas, the Ducks' veteran right wing, does not think there is any cartoon magic at play but he does think the Angels championship showed the Ducks the way.

"That was a real big deal here in Orange County," Thomas told the BBC Sport website.

"Disneyland was rocking when they were going through their World Series run."

"We've had a bunch of the ballplayers come to watch a few of our games and a bunch of us have been over to the Angels' park to watch them play.

"It's become a nice little bond, a nice little friendship.

"We can discuss what each team went through and what we're going through now and they can relay a few messages on some adversities that you have to deal with.

"They know what it takes to win and if we can feed off what they did, it would be an extra feather in our hat."

After the success Anaheim has enjoyed in the past year, why not bring a few more teams down the highway to capitalise on the sport fervour in the heart of Orange County?

Baseman Troy Glaus and manager Mike Scioscia of the Anaheim Angels hold the world series trophy
The Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants to claim the 2002 World Series
The logical choice would be for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers to make the move to the suburbs.

The Clippers have played second fiddle to the Lakers for years in LA, sharing the same arena but without half the success or supporters.

The Arrowhead Pond, the Ducks' building in Anaheim, would make an ideal home for the Clippers and supporters would be lining up for tickets the moment a move was announced.

And there is always football. Anaheim was abandoned by the Los Angeles Rams in 1995 but would be the ideal spot for the NFL to make another venture in Southern California.

So come on, NBA and NFL teams in need of a new home, and look what is waiting for you in Anaheim!

There is Disneyland for the kids, beaches and Hollywood just down the road, and plenty of underdog mystique to go around.



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