NHL mascots up to 30; your move, Rangers
This past Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled Gritty, a seven-foot orange creature, as their first official mascot since 1976.
Instant fame ensued, as Gritty rocketed to prominence with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also garnered attention on Good Morning America and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
With that, there are now 30 mascots amongst the 31 active NHL franchises. Surprisingly, the odd team out is the New York Rangers.
The Blueshirts happen to be the favorite of Fallon, whose history with NHL mascots also includes winning a bet with Montreal’s Youppi after the Rangers beat the Canadiens in the 2014 playoffs. Can you imagine the publicity possibilities if the team had its own walking symbol to interact with the NBC personality?
Moreover, with a history dating back to 1926, it is odd for this Original Six team not to have mascot. Doubly so when you consider they represent the largest media market and possibly the most renowned city in the league. That combination of history, tradition and locality bears several choices of how to honor it.
The Rangers should follow their peers and make the NHL Mascot Showdown complete. Every team could send one representative to compete for recognition off and on the ice.
Regardless of whether they will actually entertain thoughts of pursuing one, here are some initial proposals for a Blueshirts mascot.
“RangerCop,” A Futuristic Officer A La Robocop
Because most NHL mascots are animals (real or created), the first two possibilities on this list would show more originality.
In keeping with the team name and everything it connotes, one obvious choice would be similar to the video-game character Robocop. This game features a police officer equipped with futuristic armor.
A Ranger mascot could be a police officer decked out in red, white and blue armor inspired by the design on Robocop in games and movies. This would not only honor the team’s nickname, but also showcase the importance of police officers in the New York City metropolitan area.
“Tex,” A Cowboy
A cowboy may seem like an odd choice of mascot for a team representing law and order. However, there is a unique historical basis for this proposition.
The Rangers began when George Lewis “Tex” Rickard, the president of Madison Square Garden, was awarded an NHL franchise. The team nickname stemmed from the owner’s nickname, as they were affectionately dubbed “Tex’s Rangers.”
Naming the mascot after their founder would be appropriate for a team with a history as illustrious as the Rangers. The only issue would be the look’s potential resemblance to Rowdy of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
But any apparent contradiction between a vigilante cowboy and a New York Ranger should be easy enough to let slide. Just think of how intimidating a mascot in the mold of a Chuck Norris-inspired Walker, Texas Ranger could be.
“K-9,” A German Shepherd
If the Rangers decided take the common route of an animal mascot, there would be no better choice than this. The German Shepherd is often used as a police dog to assist officers in their line of duty, and the NYPD is near and dear to the hockey team.
This dog would also be popular for younger audiences, and would certainly rile up the crowd as the game intensifies.