The Anaheim Ducks annually pick a standout fan to become the “21st Duck”. The title is a way to honour a fan who embodies characteristics such as great perseverance, character, courage, inspiration or a fan who is making significant contributions to their community. This year, the Ducks chose Michael Lu, a skating instructor at the Rinks in Anaheim who is battling Parkinson’s disease.
The opportunity arose to catch up with Michael after his appearance as the 21st Duck on opening night when the Anaheim Ducks hosted the Detroit Red Wings, a rematch of the Ducks very first game. The Ducks bested the Red Wings in a shootout to maintain the perfect 3-0 record they’ve earned to start the season.
LWOH: How did you become the 21st Duck?
Michael Lu: My girlfriend has been beside me throughout my discovery and journey with Parkinson’s and she nominated me.
LWOH: How did you find out that you were selected as the 21st Duck?
ML: I was coaching the Learn to Play kids and out of nowhere, Ryan Getzlaf came out and surprised me. He caught me completely off guard and I eventually fell on my butt from all the excitement.
LWOH: What did it feel like last night at the home opener?
ML: It was truly a dream come true. I couldn’t have scripted a better experience for myself.
We're continually inspired by @MichaelLu21 and his determination to face Parkinson's disease head on.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 9, 2018
LWOH: So you work as a skating instructor and you’re going to school?
ML: I coach learn to play hockey on the weekends, I work as an instructional aide during the week at a school and I attend grad school at APU for School Psychology.
LWOH: You live with Parkinson’s, tell me about your involvement in the fight to find a cure?
ML: I work with Parkinson’s Resource Organization to help from support groups so that no one feels isolated with Parkinson’s Disease.
Michael was truly a pleasure to talk to. He embodies the 21st Duck persona perfectly. If you are interested in looking into Parkinson’s Resource Organization you can find them online at their website, http://www.parkinsonsresource.org/ and on Instagram.
He was definitely the good luck charm that the Ducks needed at the Home Opener. The Ducks trailed the Red Wings through most of the game, playing catch up. They tied the game at 11:31 of the third period with a tip-in goal from Jakob Silfverberg. This led to an eventful, yet unsuccessful overtime period. The lone goal scorer in the shootout was rookie Troy Terry who put an absolute laser past Jimmy Howard in the Ducks second attempt. John Gibson remained perfect through the shootout to lead the Ducks to the third consecutive win to start the season.
The Ducks are back in action on Wednesday night at home against the Arizona Coyotes who are still looking for the first win of the season. The puck drops at 7 p.m. pst.
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