What drafting and fostering a touted prospect is to an NHL team’s on-ice endeavors, designing and putting forth a mascot is to the team’s extracurricular public relations. Some will deliver what they are supposed to all but impeccably while others will flame out in the heat of the hype.
Or, in a few cases, an NHL franchise will acquire its mascot from another sports organization. Again, sometimes that is a solid transaction; other times not so much or maybe somewhere in between.
Naturally, one of the mascot’s top tasks is to toss another element of fun in the game-going experience to a team’s youngest fans. Hence the incessant offers to have the character appear at a school, birthday party or other kids’ function.
But like the skaters they help to cheer on, mascots play a two-way game. The other half of their game is being a living and breathing symbol of the team, which means there much be a balance between amusement for children and still being taken seriously.
It should also go without saying that the mascot’s appearance represents the franchise in a way that makes sense, yet sometimes that is somehow not the case.
Based on the criteria described above, here is a bottom-to-top assessment of the NHL’s 25 mascots. (Note that there are no entries from Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, the New York Rangers or Philadelphia. And sorry, Red Wings fans, but your octopus will not be eligible until he dons a jersey and starts making rounds in the Joe Louis Arena seating bowl.)