Jason Klaer – Indy Writer
In sports, these always cheery one person fan sections are consistently entertaining fans, no matter the teams’ performance. Approachable and friendly, mascots are a piece of a franchise which go unnoticed. Here is my list of the six best mascots in the National Hockey League.
6.) Sabretooth (Buffalo Sabres)
The Sabres have turned a pre-historic creature into a lovable, furry friend who keeps the fans going throughout at the First Niagara Center. It likes to stand up on the seats to rev the crowd up in close games. Overall just looks like an approachable figure and would be something kids could identify.
5.) NJ Devil (New Jersey Devils)
Although the name could be a little more creative, I like the overall thought process. The costume itself is intimidating, which could possibly scare the opponents? Anyway, it likes to bang a loud drum during the game and makes several appearances at community functions. Even though the devil is historically seen as a negative, the NJ Devil is offering reasons why he is different. But hey, something is needed to draw in the crowds at the Prudential Center.
4.) Sparky the Dragon (New York Islanders) (Defunct)
Before the 2015-16 season, the organization thought Sparky had run its course as the face of the franchise. At one point, the dragon did double duty, portrayed as the Islanders mascot as well as the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League. Sparky was famous for skating while waving the Islander’s colors proudly before the game. Who doesn’t like to see a creature of medieval times multi-tasking? Big shame to see the mascots going under before the stadium in which the Islanders play in (Nassau Coliseum) somehow still stands. New York did move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for this season. I will soon start a petition to see Sparky make an appearance in the future.
3.) Nordy (Minnesota Wild)
Nordy is one of the newer mascots in the NHL. Introduced in 2008, the hat-wearing bear captures a lot of attention at Wild home games. Minnesota claims Nordy was found skating on a pond in Northern Minnesota and was taken in by the team. Not many mascots have its own email address, but that is how Nordy can be reached for appearances at birthday parties and other social gatherings. Like other mascots, it rocks its own jersey with the name and number. Simple idea for the actual costume, but the background story is what give it a little more life.
2.) Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks)
Arguably one of the most entertaining in the business, Tommy Hawk enhances a fan’s experience along with the venue of the United Center. Similar to the NJ Devil, Tommy Hawk uses percussion to gain attention. Tommy makes several appearance not only in the Chicagoland area, but nationwide as well. Easily one of the most beloved mascots in the NHL, Tommy also fits his team well. Sometimes I wonder where the connection is made between a certain mascot and the actual team. From the front row all the way to the nosebleeds, Tommy Hawk makes sure his presence is known.
1.) Youppi! (Montreal Canadiens)
A longtime mascot of the Montreal Expos, this bearded fellow came to the NHL in 2005. Even though the Canadiens are one of the National Hockey League’s longest-running franchises, Youppi! was the first official mascot of the organization. The orange-haired mascot was designed by Bonnie Erickson, who was a former worker for Jim Henson. So if anyone ever asks what the Muppets and Canadiens have in common, you will all know now.
(Featured image retrieved from: http://www.theplayerstribune.com)