Last season was weird, huh?
For starters, fans weren’t allowed in the majority of arenas until about March and only one mascot was able to get a special waiver from the league to be in attendance for all of their club’s home games in the midst of a condensed 56-game regular season schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Since there was only one mascot as the face of not just their team in house, but an entire league’s marketing department for a while, ranking all of the mascots just seemed irrelevant last year.
Though some found ways to brighten days by creating content on TikTok or driving up to fans’ houses of residence, not every mascot had an equal opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of their fans.
This year, however, love is in the air.
Not just because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because we’re bringing back our pointless and completely nonsensical NHL mascot rankings for better or worse.
It’s a tradition that began in January 2017, and it’s technically turning five-years-old even if it hasn’t always been consecutive in its presentation.
Let’s get into the reason for the season– the rankings of pros, cons and furriness of all the mascots around the league.
32. New York Rangers
31st in 2019-20, 31st in 2018-19, 30th in 2017-18
It’s 2022. Every marketing department knows it’s better to have a mascot than not have a mascot. The Rangers could introduce an apple with googly eyes and call it their mascot or a fresh baguette named Artemi after “The Bread Man” himself and everyone would love them.
Until then, it’s hard to love them and it’s hard to move them past other teams (namely Seattle and Detroit– depending on how you look at Al the Octopus) in the rankings.
31. Seattle Kraken
Previously unranked because this is their first season
We know the Kraken will introduce a mascot at some point. We know they’ll introduce it in an NFT. On second thought, we should’ve put them below the Rangers, but you know what, they’re new in town so we’ll be nice enough and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Except this all could’ve been done in an email.
Plus we’re past the midpoint in the 2021-22 season. The Vegas Golden Knights introduced Chance at their second home game on Oct. 13, 2017, let’s get this thing going, Seattle.
If Zoidberg never leaves Climate Pledge Arena you have to name Zoidberg as your mascot. I don’t make the rules.
30. Al the Octopus (Detroit Red Wings)
30th in 2019-20, 30th in 2018-19, 26th in 2017-18
Similar to the Rangers, the Red Wings don’t have a physical mascot. Unlike the Rangers, the Red Wings do– technically speaking– have a mascot. It’s just a mascot without a costume.
Al the Octopus plush toys still exist, but you won’t see Al the Octopus dangling from the ceiling at Little Caesars Arena. I guess that’s better than what Detroit had from 1982-87, though.
29. Tommy Hawk (Chicago)
24th in 2019-20, 20th in 2018-19, 14th in 2017-18
Is Tommy Hawk “moving forward” too?
28. Sabretooth (Buffalo Sabres)
3rd in 2019-20, 6th in 2018-19, 8th in 2017-18
Sabretooth hasn’t been nearly as active on the timeline this season as they were last season. Want to keep kids engaged and fans interested in a little sideshow while the team… …exists? Let Sabretooth lead the way. Sabretooth could have this rebuild done in 1-3 years.
27) Gnash (Nashville Predators)
14th in 2019-20, 19th in 2018-19, 17th in 2017-18
Look, I’ll say it and you can still disagree or not, but Nashville’s jerseys since the 2017-18 season have grown on me. All things must pass, season’s change and yet some things remain the same. The Internet will always be heavily opinionated.
Regardless, Gnash, buddy, please update your profile pic if you want to get more right swipes. Get some new hockey pants while you’re at it too, since your current pair is looking a little faded.
I get it, sometimes you leave your gear outside during the summer to save your sanity from the smell, but these pants have been outside for too long and it shows. Minus-5 style points.
26) Youppi! (Montréal Canadiens)
19th in 2019-20, 10th in 2018-19, 6th in 2017-18
Not only did the Tampa Bay Montréal Expo Rays deal fall through, but Youppi! still doesn’t even have their own Twitter account.
They also don’t even get enough love from the Canadiens’ account to begin with, which is why we’re left to rely on Ted Starkey, who is– to my knowledge– sadly not related to Sir Richard Starkey (better known as Ringo Starr).
In any case, there’s still a faction of fans in Montréal that are hoping Youppi! can one day “Get Back” to where they once belonged.
25) Sparky the Dragon (New York Islanders)
25th in 2019-20, 29th in 2018-19, 25th in 2017-18
Sparky has had a Twitter account since December 2011, but hasn’t tweeted anything in… …forever.
It’s possible that Sparky scrubbed the timeline in preparation for an album debut, but it’s been how many years now and we still haven’t seen anything.
At very least, unlike Montréal, the Islanders promote Sparky actively on their Twitter account.
Keep up the good work, Sparky, even if it’s quietly in the background and not on your main timeline.
24) Bailey (Los Angeles Kings)
18th in 2019-20, 3rd in 2018-19, 1st in 2017-18
Bailey’s going through an NFT phase and it shows in their profile picture. At the very least, they don’t have one of those hexagonal profile pics yet to definitively prove these claims, so there’s that.
We’ll give them some space and let them grow up a bit. Maybe you can convince your buddy Will there to make– and star in– a Kings movie to turn things around.
Here’s hoping Bailey can recover by next year’s ranking.
23) Fin (Vancouver Canucks)
6th in 2019-20, 7th in 2018-19, 10th in 2017-18
Fin’s cold, lifeless, eyes could use a little sparkle these days and– at the very least– Bruce Boudreau’s introduction behind the bench, as well as Patrik Allvin, Émilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato’s introduction to the front office should spark bright ideas for the future on the ice and in mascot happiness and quality of life.
Those fluorescent lights aren’t doing Fin any favors, never mind the fact that it appears as though the Canucks won’t release Fin from captivity. At least draw something on that blank whiteboard back there.
It’s time to let Fin run (or swim, I guess) free!
22) Harvey the Hound (Calgary Flames)
17th in 2019-20, 23rd in 2018-19, 18th in 2017-18
Please let Harvey tweet again. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
If you’re new to the sport or mascots in general, Harvey was the first in NHL and dates back to 1983, so Gen-Xers you still have something to claim as yours these days.
Turns out not everything cool has been taken from you by the Boomers, Millennials or Gen Z population, well, unless you don’t consider Harvey “cool”, that is.
21) Mick E. Moose (Winnipeg Jets)
15th in 2019-20, 16th in 2018-19, 11th in 2017-18
Influencer culture, bad form. #Ad
(But I appreciate a good Benny appearance, nonetheless.)
Mascots are for the kids. Kids dig NFTs. Trust us, it’s science. #Hashtag #Cool #Lit
20) Hunter (Edmonton Oilers)
22nd in 2019-20, 26th in 2018-19, 23rd in 2017-18
Hunter doesn’t have a Twitter account and is arguably one of the most terrifying mascots in the league. Come on, the content practically writes itself, just let your furry fan tweet.
Also we’re surprised the Edmonton media hasn’t written about how Hunter has contributed nothing to the team on the scoresheet this season.
Unless they’re looking at Hunter’s physical play, in which case they’re on par with, uh, former Oiler, Milan Lucic, in the heart and grit department.
One thing’s for sure, Hunter won’t be asking for a trade anytime soon because nobody is writing about how Hunter isn’t pulling their weight or “doesn’t want to win bad enough”.
Your move, Connor McDavid.
19) Stanley C. Panther/Viktor E. Ratt (Florida Panthers)
23rd in 2019-20, 25th in 2018-19, 20th in 2017-18
Did a premeditated murder write this?
Joking aside, we love hearty friendly competition jokes at the expense of other mascots.
Stanley C. Panther didn’t even have to include Viktor E. Ratt in this year’s tweet that’s worthy of being ranked (yes, the Panthers have two official mascots. No, they’re not related to our knowledge).
For the record, here’s what Viktor E. Ratt looks like.
Maybe wake the kid up next time for a photo. It might not be as nightmare inducing in the long run.
18) Slapshot (Washington Capitals)
13th in 2019-20, 5th in 2018-19, 4th in 2017-18
Slapshot is better than the movie, Slap Shot (1977), but you know what’s always been kind of weird about Slapshot?
Slapshot is supposed to be a bald eagle, yet I was under the impression that bald eagles have brown feathers.
How could you mess this up!?!
Or did the Capitals just leave Slapshot as is after Washington went away from their teal era back to the standard red, white and blue because they didn’t want outsiders to get Slapshot confused with the Washington Nationals’ mascot, Screech?
That’d actually make sense from a trademark and branding standpoint.
17) Chance (Vegas Golden Knights)
16th in 2019-20, 9th in 2018-19, 31st* in 2017-18
*ranked before Chance came into existence
You know what we love? Vegas’ original home jersey.
You know what we don’t love? Vegas’ third jersey.
You know what prevented Chance from appearing any higher in this year’s rankings? It’s the jersey. Please kill it with fire (or at least give the alternate logo a try as the crest).
Think about how the Reverse Retro worked so well last year and then go from there, but make it more prominently gold. You want over-the-top? That’s how you get over-the-top.
Otherwise it seems a bit uninspired for a city that likes to entertain the zany and bizarre. What time does Cirque du Soleil start?
16) Spartacat (Ottawa Senators)
29th in 2019-20, 21st in 2018-19, 9th in 2017-18
The contrast between Spartacat’s hair and the current Senators look (since rebranded from the previous ranking) is pretty, pretty good.
We don’t really understand what’s behind the whole “Sens spices” thing, but then again Ottawa has had its fair share of– shall we say– “unique” branding over the years and we’re very much here for a theater of the absurd.
The only thing we don’t like is the fact that Spartacat is in clear health violation by using their apron as a napkin as well.
Wings, no matter where they’re from, require lots of paper towels.
Oh and what’s the temperature of that grill set at, while we’re at it…
15) Thunderbug (Tampa Bay Lightning)
28th in 2019-20, 18th in 2018-19, 15th in 2017-18
We get it, you’re the two-time defending champion.
We also want to see the 2022 Stadium Series jersey become the basis for the next third jersey– whether it’s just a “copy, paste” from the outdoor game later this month or a reversal of the jersey colors (primarily blue instead of primarily white)– we really think it’ll be better in the long run than the current alternate threads.
14) Nordy (Minnesota Wild)
27th in 2019-20, 28th in 2018-19, 24th in 2017-18
Nice flow and we’re not talking about Barry Melrose (though Melrose looks nice too).
Nordy’s hockey hair is growing on us (and quite literally). Plus, the Wild’s 2022 Winter Classic jersey looks really good on Nordy in their profile pic.
Keep on rocking out to Prince like there’s no tomorrow, pal.
13) Stormy (Carolina Hurricanes)
9th in 2019-20, 24th in 2018-19, 28th in 2017-18
Inconsistent content on Twitter, but a bigger influencer on TikTok these days, Stormy will always win points for posing for a picture with the Ayres’.
Speaking of which, we’re coming up on that two-year anniversary soon, aren’t we?
What a legend indeed.
12) N.J. Devil (New Jersey Devils)
1st in 2019-20, 13th in 2018-19, 16th in 2017-18
I’ll admit, I’ve talked with the Devil before. N.J. Devil. On Twitch. Maybe next time N.J. Devil can hook me up with an introduction to “The Boss” or a Jersey jersey.
Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier, if you would, please. Size 52. Thanks.
In the meantime, N.J. Devil is asking the important questions here.
11) S.J. Sharkie (San Jose Sharks)
2nd in 2019-20, 2nd in 2018-19, 2nd in 2017-18
You know what they say, eat the competition.
Traditionally, we give S.J. Sharkie the Matt Damon treatment around here– close, but never enough time to get around to doing the interview.
This year, S.J. Sharkie’s fallen out of the top-10 and it’s through no fault of their own. There’s just that much good stuff going on by these top-11 mascots this season.
10) Blades the Bruin (Boston Bruins)
8th in 2019-20, 8th in 2018-19, 5th in 2017-18
Blades was spotted at the 2022 NHL All Star Game in Las Vegas wearing a 2007-11 era Reebok Edge style jersey with an updated nameplate on the back to reflect the current adidas style (2017-present) font.
That’s a deduction in the fashion category, but using Patrice Bergeron to boost your content overall never hurts.
Also, please give Blades their own account sometime. Boston is starved for creative hockey content that’s not just from the team’s official account since The Bear quietly went off into the forest around 2012.
9) Wild Wing (Anaheim Ducks)
26th in 2019-20, 17th in 2018-19, 3rd in 2017-18
It’s quite a rebound from the last mascot ranking, but Wild Wing’s on a wild ride– a surge in popularity– since hanging out with the one and only Trevor Zegras.
Zegras absolutely should’ve won the 2022 NHL adidas Breakaway Challenge, but as a consolation prize, having Wild Wing as your best friend doesn’t sound so bad.
8) Louie (St. Louis Blues)
10th in 2019-20, 14th in 2018-19, 12th in 2017-18
As much as Louie would be better suited in a place where polar bears can actually roam around, we have to admit that Louie’s got it pretty good in St. Louis.
Besides, that’s a quality mask that they make an appearance on and the cartoon stylization has us asking for a series to be green-lit on Netflix.
Bluey better watch out if Louie has anything to say about it among popular children’s content.
7) Howler (Arizona Coyotes)
21st in 2019-20, 27th in 2018-19, 21st in 2017-18
If there’s an 11th-hour relocation (and I’m not saying that there will be) Howler could end up having the same fate as Thrash and that’d be a shame.
Howler gives 110% every night whether you realize it or not and the return of the Kachina jerseys full-time at home and on the road make things all the more special.
Please get an agreement together, Tempe, so the Coyotes can start building a forever home.
Otherwise we’ll have to get in touch with Sarah McLachlan about a mascot looking for a new owner.
6) Victor E. Green (Dallas Stars)
12th in 2019-20, 12th in 2018-19, 19th in 2017-18
Victor E. Green walked so Gritty could run.
5) Iceburgh (Pittsburgh Penguins)
4th in 2019-20, 1st in 2018-19, 7th in 2017-18
STYLE (noun)- this. Iceburgh has lots of style in the Penguins’ third jersey.
The one time we won’t mind seeing another Snoop Dogg cameo as if EA SPORTS wrote it is if Iceburgh gets to be featured in Snoop Dogg’s next music video and/or album, though Iceburgh’s not known for many words (if any).
4) Stinger (Columbus Blue Jackets)
11th in 2019-20, 15th in 2018-19, 27th in 2017-18
Curling is all the rage these days with the Winter Games going on, but even when it’s not every four years curling is right up there with hockey as the coolest sport on Earth.
Maybe Stinger has a chance at making the United States curling team in 2026?
Would Stinger win gold in Olympic curling before the Blue Jackets win their first Stanley Cup ring? Time will tell.
3) Carlton the Bear (Toronto Maple Leafs)
7th in 2019-20, 11th in 2018-19, 13th in 2017-18
If you couldn’t already tell, Carlton is the one with the Maple Leafs jersey on that reads “Carlton” on the back and has the number 60.
If you also couldn’t tell how much this guy *points at self* is a fan of a good heist movie like Ocean’s Eleven (2001), then you don’t know me at all, Internet stranger.
In any case, Carlton could be the next George Clooney.
Be on the lookout, Hollywood.
2) Bernie the St. Bernard (Colorado Avalanche)
20th in 2019-20, 22nd in 2018-19, 22nd in 2017-18
Any other year– ANY OTHER YEAR– Bernie would win.
No, I’m not talking about the 2016 presidential election, but rather more important things (this ranking).
The introduction of “Lil Bern” at Colorado’s “Next Gen Night” is perhaps the cutest thing we’ve seen this season in mascot family tree content.
Do Bernie and Lil Bern play catch or fetch? Inquiring minds
want need to know.
Give us more, Avalanche marketing department and social media crew.
1) Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)
5th in 2019-20, 4th in 2018-19, 29th* in 2017-18 (pre-Gritty)
The Gritmas spirit is alive and well and Gritty constantly reminds us all of the most important thing while making millions laugh worldwide– that Love Is Love and Gritty loves all.
At the end of the day, all you need is love.
Live, laugh, love and Gritty.
Also Gritty is for pure liberation of the soul.
Do your thing. Live your life.
In the blink of an eye it’ll already be gone-by.