For decades, sports teams have used mascots to liven up the atmosphere of their respective field, rink, or stadium. While today’s professional sports leagues don’t usually use real animals to represent their team’s pride (in the early days of mascots, sports teams would bring in live animals, oftentimes predators, that would be used as an intimidation factor), mascots are still a fun part of anyone’s trip to see a game.
To many (young fans in particular), the mascot is an essential part of a team’s home arena – especially in a sport that draws out as much emotion as hockey does. Thus, having a good mascot can be a crucial part of a spectator’s trip to see their favorite team.
So, it’s time we stacked the league’s mascots up against one another, to see who will reign supreme as the league’s top mascot, and who might want to consider retiring in favor of a new one.
Here’s the NHL’s Power Rankings: Mascot Edition – Part II. [Part 1]
#19: Nordy – Minnesota Wild,
Back in 2008, the Minnesota Wild unveiled their mascot – Nordy, who is a… fox-bear? Nordy’s lack of an obvious species makes him difficult to fall in love with, however, it’s at least pretty obvious which team he represents. According to the mascot’s official player page, the 6-foot 6-inch animal was found skating on the frozen waters in Eveleth, Minnesota, and came to join the Wild shortly thereafter. I guess he likes Dairy Queen, too.
#18: Youppi! – Montreal Canadiens
Youppi! is one of the stranger mascots in professional sports. The muppet-looking mascot actually began its life on the diamond, where it served from 1979-2004 as the official mascot of the Montreal Expos of the MLB. When he made the switch to the Montreal Canadiens, he became the first mascot to change major American sports leagues. With an exclamation point as a trademarked part of his name (it also replaces his number), Youppi! demands excitement. However, his brutal look still places him in the lower tier of this list.
#17: Sabretooth – Buffalo Sabres
Sabretooth is not the world’s greatest looking mascot, however, he certainly pleases the eye more than some of the other mascots that fell below him in our ranking. The sabre-tooth tiger doesn’t really match the buffalo on the Sabres’ jerseys, but at least his updated color scheme points you in the right direction. The former mascot of the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League has a house in the First Niagara Center, and repels from the ceiling accompanied by rock music before games. Still, you’d expect something a little more along the lines of Buffalo for the Sabres (especially given their logo), but the goofy-looking sabretooth does alright.
#16: Tommy Hawk – Chicago Blackhawks
Tommy Hawk chimes in at #16, and while he isn’t the most amazing mascot idea ever, you have to admit that the Blackhawks did alright given their situation. With their already-touchy name and logo, the Hawks had to be careful when selecting a mascot. However, Tommy Hawk looks a wee bit odd. You’d expect something a bit better out of the team that’s won 3 Stanley Cups in 6 years.
#15: Stanley C. Panther – Florida Panthers
With Stanley C. Panther, you have some definite positives, as well as some definite negatives. We’ll start with the positives. Stanley C. Panther’s namesake, as you could probably guess, comes from Lord Stanley himself, as well as his prized trophy. On top of that, you can take one look at the mascot and know exactly which team he roots for. In fact, Stanley is a pretty good-looking Panther, if you look below the face. Yep, Stanley is a “butterface.” The Panther’s expression isn’t quite up to snuff. See for yourself:
#14: Howler the Coyote – Arizona Coyotes
Howler the Coyote isn’t a dynamic mascot by any means, but his simplicity doesn’t necessarily hurt him in this case. The Yote is an easily identifiable mascot, who rocks the number 96 on his jersey, which represents the year the Winnipeg Jets moved to Arizona. However, he too has a strange expression on his furry face.
#13: Harvey the Hound – Calgary Flames
Harvey the Hound’s look is hideous – let’s just get that out there. But Harvey has too good of a back-story to be put in the lower tier of our rankings. For starters, Harvey was the NHL’s first mascot, and was introduced by the Flames in 1983. His “fire-dog” theme fits with the Flames, but his appearance could certainly be better. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt given his age. However, Harvey’s position in the upper half of our power rankings was solidified by an incident that occurred back in 2003. After taunting the Oilers’ bench, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish ripped out Harvey’s tongue. To make matters worse, Harvey was disembodied and covered in mud by a flood back in 2013. Trust us, this story is worth reading.
#12: Fin the Whale – Vancouver Canucks
Fin the Whale makes for a pretty good mascot given the logo the Vancouver Canucks are working with. The Orca Whale looks pretty awesome, especially when you consider that he has a working blowhole. Now that is cool. When Fin isn’t chomping on the heads of unsuspecting fans, he can usually be seen beating his drum, like many mascots do nowadays. Fin is also part of a series of animated shorts that play during Canucks games. And, of course, props to Vancouver for the punny name.
#11: Spartacat – Ottawa Senators
Spartacat missed the top-tier of our power rankings by *that* much. All things considered, Spartacat is a pretty good mascot. His name is absolutely brilliant, and he’s the only mascot we’ve seen so far who has true hockey player flow (he must have gotten some advice from Erik Karlsson). However, he his creepy facial expression pushed him out of the bubble that is our top ten.
That does it for Part II of our mascot power rankings. If you missed Part I, be sure to check it out here, and stay tuned for Part III, where we will unveil who takes the crown as the NHL’s greatest mascot.
If you feel your mascot was done a disservice, you can yell at Cam on Twitter@CamHasbrouck and The Hockey Writers @TheHockeyWriter
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!