Opinion: The Moral Placements of Active NHL Mascots (Atlantic Division)

Pro players
min - read
Kaja Antic
Pro players
min - read
If you only have a few minutes to spare, here's what you should know:
Less terrifying mascot = better rank
Silly string and criminal activity results in chaotic placements
Carlton the Bear is the best NHL mascot

Introduction, Boston, Buffalo, and Detroit

As defined by Google, a mascot is “a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization.”

While these mascots may be charismatic representations of a team’s values, what values do these mascots themselves hold? 

Using the popular Dungeon & Dragons alignment chart created in the 1970s, I will be analyzing each NHL team’s mascot and placing them on the famed chart, an example is shown below:

(Chart visual created by Kaja Antic)

I will justify my choices with information on how the mascot was created, what they are meant to represent, the stories their corresponding teams have created for them, and key events during the mascot’s existence. 

Due to the length of these analyses, each division gets its own placements. To start, I will introduce the Atlantic Division and the team mascots. 

As a disclaimer, these are all personal observations and purely for comedic value.

Blades at the 2023 NHL All-Star Mascot Game (Dave Sanford/NHL via Getty Images)

Name: Blades the Bruin

Team: Boston Bruins

Number: 00

Species: Bear

Origin: As per the Bruins, Blades was preparing to hibernate in the fall of one year, then he came across a group of people playing pond hockey. Blades would stay awake through the typical hibernation season in order to watch the same group play this “fantastic” game every Sunday.

One of these players was former Bruins forward Johnny ‘Chief” Bucyk, and one night while he had his back turned, Blades hopped in the back of his truck.

When Blades came out of the truck at TD Garden, Bucyk was at first surprised, then grabbed snacks for the hungry bear. Bucyk then went into the stands to see if any fans had name suggestions. Professional women’s hockey player Jillian Dempsey suggested “Blades” and the name stuck.

When Bucyk returned to Blades, asking if he wanted to stay with the Bruins, Blades agreed, thinking that the Bruins were other bears like him.

Instead, he met the team of human hockey players, who embraced them as one of their own, giving him a jersey and size 13 ice skates, so he could play his favourite sport.

Placement: Lawful Good

Explanation: Blades doesn’t hibernate because he just loves hockey! He thought the Bruins were all bears too! How can you not love him? Blades will be placed in the “Lawful Good” category.

Al being lowered from the rafters before a playoff game between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets on April 16, 2009. (David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Name: Sabretooth

Team: Buffalo Sabres

Number: N/A

Species: Saber-toothed tiger

Origin: Team name

Placement: Chaotic Neutral

Explanation: Sabretooth has acrobatically rappelled down to the ice as part of a pre-game routine, and has also been known to ride a four-wheeler across the ice.

Sabretooth uses a bazooka to distribute t-shirts to the crowds at games and uses a drum to keep the beat for Sabres chants. He has taken control of a loose GoPro during a kids' intermission game and has broken glass that was near the Sabres bench.

As well, Sabretooth has an ongoing feud with the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, tweeting at the other mascot after a Flyers defeat, holding up disparaging signs while the Sabres played the Flyers, and even creating a Rocky parody pitting himself against the mascot.

For these reasons, Sabretooth will be classified as “Chaotic Neutral.”

Al being lowered from the rafters before a playoff game between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets on April 16, 2009 (David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Name: Al the Octopus

Team: Detroit Red Wings

Number: 8 (as in the number of tentacles)

Species: Octopus

Origin: The “Legend of the Octopus” in Detroit dates back to 1952, when local store owners Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw an octopus onto the ice during an April 15th playoff game. At the time, there were only eight wins needed to win the Stanley Cup during the Original Six era.

After the Red Wings swept both the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup, the tradition stayed in Detroit as a good luck charm.

Al is named after former buildings operations manager, Al Sobotka, who was known to twirl the octopus over his head while collecting it off the ice. In the first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Sobotka was threatened with a $10,000 fine if he continued to twirl the octopus on the ice, with former NHL spokesperson Frank Brown stating “Matter flies off the octopus.”

However, this penalty was adjusted for the third round, so Sobotka was still able to twirl the octopus once he was off the ice. The Red Wings went on to the Final to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to two, winning the franchise’s 11th Stanley Cup.

Placement: Neutral Evil

Explanation: This brooding giant octopus is now duplicated during the playoffs as it takes 16 wins to hoist the Stanley Cup. Al has received numerous upgrades since his debut in 1995, which include bright red eyes that actually blink! Al is also ominously raised to the rafters as the Red Wings take the ice for playoff games. While the legend of the octopus seems lucky for the Red Wings, Al’s off-putting entrance is demonic enough that I must place him in “Neutral Evil.”

Atlantic division mascots
From left to right: Youppi, Carlton, Sabretooth, Thunderburg, Spartacat and Blades the Bruin

Florida x2, Montreal

Name: Stanley C. Panther

Team: Florida Panthers

Number: 00, as well as a “C” jersey patch for his middle initial. Has also worn 93 to represent the team’s first season. 

Species: Anthropomorphic Florida panther

Origin: Team name, as well as named after the Stanley Cup. 

Placement: Chaotic Neutral

Explanation: While Stanley has shown off his sweet moves, his love for the beach, and his devotion to his fellow Panthers, Stanley has also shown his mischievous side at times. He has gotten into lightsaber fights with fans, driven across the Florida ice on a four-wheeler, practiced for a fight against the New York Islanders mascot, Sparky, and engaged in typical cat behaviour in the Panthers offices.

While Stanley may be a bit eccentric, he is overall very good with the South Florida fanbase, therefore he gets placed in the “Chaotic Neutral” category.

Viktor collects rats after a win against the Detroit Red Wings on April 21, 2022 (Eliot J.Schechter/NHL via Getty Images)

Name: Viktor E. Ratt

Team: Florida Panthers

Number: 96, for the season Florida reached its first Stanley Cup Final

Species: Anthropomorphic rat

Origin: Named in 2014 after the Florida rat-throwing tradition (Victory Rat).

Placement: Lawful Evil

Explanation: While Viktor has similar smooth moves just like his counterpart Stanley, was involved in a drive-thru Easter egg hunt during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has even shown his trampoline skills, Viktor is arguably the more chaotic of the two Florida mascots.

He has entered feuds through the glass with opposing fans, pranked his cat counterpart Stanley during April Fools, and claims he shoots “Silly String,” a damaging aerosol-canned substance that has been banned in multiple locations. However, “Silly String” has not been banned in Florida, so I have classified him as “Lawful Evil.”

Youppi! posing during a game between the Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres on November 11, 2017 (Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Name: Youppi!

Team: Montreal Canadiens

Number: N/A. Wears an exclamation mark in place of a jersey number.

Species: Human?

Origin: Yippee! or Hooray! in French. He was the mascot for the MLB’s Montreal Expos from 1979 to 2004 and was adopted by the Canadiens after the Expos left town.

Placement: Chaotic Neutral

Explanation: Prior to his trade to the NHL, Youppi! was the first mascot to be ejected from an MLB game, after dancing on the opposing team’s dugout roof in a nightgown. When Youppi! joined the Habs, this troublesome behaviour continued. Youppi! can be seen on video stealing candy around the Centre Bell, and has also been caught streaking during a Canadiens team photo shoot.

He does have some redeeming moments, such as fulfilling his side of a bet with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon following the 2014 Eastern Conference Final and being helpful on the metro to Montreal commuters and fans.

Youppi! will be placed in the “Chaotic Neutral” category.

Getty Images
Some NHL Mascots at the NHL All-Star

Ottawa, Tampa, Toronto, Conclusion

Name: Spartacat

Team: Ottawa Senators

Number: N/A (paw print in place of a number)

Species: Anthropomorphic lion

Origin: First home game debut on October 8, 1992.

Placement: Lawful Good

Explanation: While Spartacat may look like he’s straight out of Where The Wild Things Are, his height and weight are “as big as his heart” and even Meöwlnir said he was worthy!

Sparty is involved in many charity events in the Ottawa area, including getting behind the counter at McDonald’s to support the local Ronald McDonald House. Spartacat does have a rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot Carlton, tweeting that he “never liked blue'' after his account was unverified, as well as listing one of his hobbies as “Raking Leafs.”

Despite this rivalry, Spartacat is being classified as “Lawful Good.”

Thunderbug waving a Tampa Bay Lightning flag during the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks on June 6, 2015 (David E.Klutho/Getty Images)

Name: Thunderbug

Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

Number: 00

Species: Lightning bug

Origin: Lightning bugs, or fireflies, are commonly found in Florida.

Placement: Neutral Good

Explanation: Thunderbug can be seen during Lightning home games playing his bass drum alongside fans.

The bug can also be seen displaying some interesting dance moves, wearing stylish red carpet fits, growing an impressive playoff beard during Tampa’s many Finals runs, and getting stuck to the Amalie Arena ice. Thunderbug will be classified under “Neutral Good.”

Carlton celebrates a win against the Ottawa Senators on February 2, 2008 (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Name: Carlton the Bear

Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

Number: 60

Species: Anthropomorphic polar bear

Origin: Carlton’s name and number come from the address of the Leafs’ longtime arena, Maple Leaf Gardens at 60 Carlton Street, where the team played from 1931 to 1999

Placement: Lawful Good

Explanation: Full disclosure, Carlton is my favourite mascot. I am not ashamed to admit I have him on Twitter notifications. How can you not love this patient polar bear?

He also has been seen helping the Timbits kids at Leafs intermissions have a great time at Scotiabank Arena. Carlton is scheduled to pass Leafs legend George Armstrong for the most Maple Leafs games all-time during the upcoming 2023-24 NHL season.

Toronto’s lovable polar bear is being classified as “Lawful Good.”

Did any of these surprise you? Let us know!

Stay tuned for the next three divisions, coming soon.

Pro Players