It’s Hockey Season!

Ten years ago, I moved to SEC country, and found it absolutely crazy that people spent their entire Saturday on football- pregaming for the tailgate, tailgating, watching the game, post tailgating because it takes for freaking ever to drive away from the stadium.  But slowly the love seeped in, and now I think that there are too many awesome sports, and not enough time.  It’s college football time, of course, but also MLB postseason, NFL, and now NHL.

Wednesday kicked off hockey season with two of the most popular teams, the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks.  And while the latter ended up with a loss that night, their mascot is always winning.
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Tommy Hawk is an avid dancer with great moves to songs like “Shake Ya Tail Feather” and “Freebird.”  Any time he can, he’s out on the ice, in regular shoes (isn’t that slippery?), showing off his moves.Hey, you’d be dancing too if this was your team- in the last 5 years, they have won 2 Stanley Cups, and always made it to at least the quarterfinals in the playoffs.
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Tommy loves attending events around the city, but be warned, he will throw pucks everywhere, eat your head, and then silly string you.
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(sorry for stealing your pic, random dude.  you’re an awesome fan!)
Just so you know, Tommy is also adorable in hat form 🙂
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BIO101

Biology- that class where you cram into your short-term memory random animal facts, but the only thing you really remember is ‘kings play cards on fuzzy green stools.”  But let’s go back to it, because evidently I suck at it so much, that I thought a ‘saber-toothed tiger’ was a thing.

First of all, there was never such a thing.  There was a saber-toothed cat that is sort of the same shape as our current tigers.  But in many ways, they were more so related to modern marsupials than felines.  Second, the saber-toothed cat died out about 11,000 years ago, after an estimated existence of 42 million years.
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Really, though, this photograph tells me that they do look extremely like tigers, and the sabertooth name is dead on.  Plus, who knows historical and current biology better than the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres?  This is Sabretooth, and he is quite the popular looker.  Born in the late 1980’s, this guy has been rocking ever since.  Seriously, he loves jamming to rock music on the ice, along with driving a 4 wheeler around the rink, bazooka’ing t-shirts at fans, and dropping from the ceiling.  Really, repelling upside-down from the ceiling
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He’s so popular that back when Buffalo tried to have a lacrosse team, the Bandits, he was their mascot as well.  I doubt that team would have made it 6 years without him.
Sabretooth is even cute on PS4’s NHL15.
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Because of this insane level of tough-yet-adorable, you should root for this awesome team who’s often overshadowed by the Islanders and Rangers, even if they did finish 23-51-8 last year, and and therefore last in their division.  It’s not the players or scores or standings that count- it’s the mascot.

Boomer Forever

Hey adults, yeah you, why must you always go dirty with things?  Why can’t things just be what they are?  Why are we all Freudian worshippers, where every single action we make and thing we say in some way relates to sex? Boomer, of the NHL team the Columbus Blue Jackets, rocked.  He was freaking awesome.

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That cute stache and angry eyebrows make an excellent mascot.  But you just couldn’t get over the fact that he’s supposedly ‘phallic in stature.’  Guys, he’s a cannon.  He bombs the competition!  He’s waving at you, because he likes you!  How is any of this an issue?!
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Boomer was born in 2014, and thanks to your gutter mind, he also died in 2014.  He was phased out mid-season to ensure that nobody would think poorly of the team and their sex-advertising ways.
The team still has Stinger, a cute unknown creature who is formally described (on the team site) as a cross between Big Bird and Bart Simpson.  Born in 1999, it looks like Stinger is in it for the long haul, unlike poor Boomer.
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Goo Stinger!  But maybe you should celebrate a #tbt by wearing a Boomer shirt.  He has feelings, ya know?!

From Movie to Mascot

If you were alive during the early ’90s, you might remember a movie called “The Mighty Ducks.”  It brought in $50 million at the box office, despite getting mostly negative reviews for not being very in-depth, and only appealing to a small age group.  It currently has a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

But in the NHL, it was considered a wild success.  The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were founded in 1993 by the Walt Disney Company, aka the people who made the movie.  Yes, this is a team created from a movie.  But Disney did something right, and this team is now worth $365 million, #18 highest worth in NHL.  The team has a huge following now, because of all of the children who loved the movie.  Disney made a good business decision.
This team is most well-known for this lil logo:
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But also following the mask theme, is Wild Wing:
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Does he just glide on his feet instead of using skates?!
Wild Wing was born in 1993 with the team, which deserves some props, but again, it’s all based off of a movie.  He loves being lowered from the rafters onto the ice, and is the first mascot to ever do so.
And he might look cute, but I wouldn’t fight him.  Looks like he’s about to whack this pirate guy with the hockey stick.
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Criminals and Dragons

Kidnapping is a serious violent crime that has almost 1 million victims in the United States each year.  As of 2009, Phoenix had the second highest kidnapping rate in the world, beat by only Mexico City.  It’s scary to think that anywhere in the seemingly safe, civilized, and hospitable U.S. would have such a horrid record.  So why such a serious topic when this is typically about happy, funny, weird mascots? Up until 1998, the New York Islanders had this mascot, named Nyiles- a tough, hockey-playing, bearded fellow.

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He was not very popular in the 90’s, because he was not fun and family-friendly enough.  So the owner decided it was time to get a new mascot, but did not know how to phase out Nyiles.  He decided on a kidnapping.  Announcements were made, flyers were put up around the area, all saying “Who kidnapped Nyiles?”  That’s the best they could think of?!  Faking a severe crime?  Ultimately, the story goes, the suspect is Carleton the Bear, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, though there has been no proof of the matter, and nobody has been formally charged.
Not only is that team owner fond of terrible, crime-based pranks; he is also a cheapskate.  Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders and former owner of the now-defunct AFL New York Dragons, decided it would be a smart business decision to have just one mascot for two teams, because that means only paying one person, buying half as many costumes, and half as much charitable work needed for positive publicity.  So after the kidnapping of Nyiles, Sparky the Dragon just stepped in to fill those shoes.
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I do have to say, he is much cuter, and so happy!
How does one get on top of the glass wall?  Looks like he’s deep in thought- maybe that should be my new thinking spot.
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The Islanders also came out with a kid-version logo for the team.
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Is that a styrofoam cup?  Where’s the string that connects it to another cup for the classic ghetto phone?  Who is on the other side?

Homeland

In preparation for my trip to Minnesota coming up in a few days, I thought I’d show you all just a little glimpse of the wonders of where I grew up- that glimpse being in mascot form, of course.

Where else in the world are you going to find an undefined, mullet-having creature who is this freaking adorable?
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Nordy considers himself a true hockey player with a large frame at 6’6, and refusing to admit his weight.  His claim to fame is having the highest ever jersey number, at 18001.  I’m just questioning that tattoo on his forehead a little bit, like, he was born in 2008, who was even willing to give a 7 year old a tattoo?  But he found a job where it fits, so hey, why not?
By the way, 6’6 is tall!
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Cartoon Nordy is pretty much the same, and really cute, too.
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Ya know how I always do that two thumbs up thing that went out of style in like 1994?  Yeah, he does it too.  Go Nordy!
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Hockey Boxing

In 1925, Tex Rickard, a boxing promoter, got 600 investors to put up a total of $4.75 million dollars for the building of this lil place called Madison Square Garden, which would be the location of the next big boxing match.  Soon after, he allowed the New York Americans and Montreal Canadiens to play in this arena, and noticing the huge sellout, decided that he wanted to create his own hockey team, the New York Rangers.  His team became wildly popular, and great players from other teams wanted to play for the Rangers.  They won their first Stanley Cup in 1927, only their second season as a team.

The New York Rangers have never had an official mascot, instead focusing on fans who consistently were present and noticeable- The Chief, who wore an indian headdress and facepaint from 1971-1995, and Dancing Larry, who aisle danced from 1988-1998.  The official logo is just this:

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 And the kid’s mascot toys have this predictable cutie:
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Also a pretty damn good unofficial mascot, this guy:
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If you are really hockey inept, I think you should know that’s Wayne Gretzky, the best hockey player ever.
And of course, to make sure you get in your dose of cuteness for the day, here’s what every Ranger-loving baby needs.
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This post is dedicated to Grampa Jay, who passed away yesterday at the damn good age of 86, and was a hardkore Rangers Fan.  ❤