Let’s Talk About the Mascot


So a new mascot reveal happened today, and the reaction has been… well… split? Fortunately, I’m not afraid to tackle the hard-hitting news items like the unveiling of a new trigger mascot. 

For me, the idea of having a mascot is not all that surprising when you think about it. A lot of teams, ranging from high school to college to professional, have mascots and it was always something that I actually thought was missing from the Oilers game experience. Not that a mascot would have made a lick of difference over the past decade, but I still found it surprising that the Oilers didn’t have one. I guess the Oilers agreed. 

Most of the time, if done correctly, mascots create a link between the team and its fans and becomes an instantly recognizable piece of the team’s branding and community relations. To put it another way, mascots are like logos that are capable of posing for pictures, and high-fiving your kids after the Oilers score a goal. Makes sense, right? Of course, it does. Besides, who doesn’t love a mascot? With that considered, I’m not so much surprised that the Oilers wanted a mascot, but more so that they felt like they wanted one that looks like he’s tweaking. 

REMEMBER WHEN?

CFCW

I know a lot of the youngsters reading this site won’t remember, but, when I was a kid, the Oilers had Critter (shown above) cruising around the rink and playing the role of the team mascot. He used to get on the ice between plays, throw out t-shirts to fans, and interact with kids in the crowd — you know, the usual mascot gig. As you can see from the picture, Critter is a more traditional type of mascot. He’s a friendly looking fella and highly unlikely to prevent you from sleeping at night. Pretty standard stuff, ya know? Needless to say, the Oilers went in a different reaction for their first full-time mascot and the new guy seems a little more… intense. 

OTHER OPTIONS?

Since none of us knew about Hunter the Meth Cat Lynx, I couldn’t help but wonder about some of the other, less terrifying options that they could have gone with. Here’s a few ideas I’m spitballing:

Marty the Murderous Clown

Clown

Why not a murderous clown? Sure, the idea of this guy lurking around the rink might be terrifying, but no more so than a predatory cat. Either way, if the Oilers were looking for a creepy mascot I can’t help but wonder if the Marty the Murderous Clown was left on the table. 

Girl from the Ring

TheRing

I can’t help but wonder if the Oilers missed an opportunity to use the creepy girl from the Ring as their new Mascot. Think about how fun it would be to have her counting down the days until the new season starts. How long now, terrifying murder child? “16 daaaaaaaaaays.” 

Chucky

Chucky

If “creepy” and “nightmare-inducing” were the goals for the new mascot then I don’t know how they Oilers missed Chucky. This “friendly” little guy was all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s and could have been a logical fit between respecting our past (glory days) and terrifying the children of today. Maybe next time?

Freddy

Freddy

One thing I saw when looking for reaction to Hunter the Lynx was the recurring theme of nightmares. Well, if nightmares are the Oilers thing then Freddy Kreuger would make sense, no?

Speedo Guy

GunGuy

While this guy isn’t wearing a costume, per say, he definitely has his own look and that’s really what we’re after here. Not only is this stylish gentleman equally as intimidating as Hunter the Lynx, he’s also capable of haunting the dreams of children and adults alike. With a bromeo like this available, you have to wonder why the Oilers spent so much money on that damned costume?

Harambe

HarambeStatue

Right? Harambe. Enough said. 

Krazy George

Krazy George

For the Oilers historians in the audience, you are sure to remember Krazy George. Dubbed the father of the wave, Krazy George used to bang his drum as a means to fire up the Northlands faithful back in the 80s. George’s schtick actually took him all over the continent as he used his advance levels of cheerleading to fire up crowds ranging from hockey, to football, to baseball. While George may have been overlooked by the Oilers, he was not forgotten by all of us here at Nation HQ. 

THE REACTION

Needless to say, the reaction towards the new mascot was… uhh… split? I put together a little sample of some of the best stuff I found on Twitter.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Maybe I’m being too hard on young Hunter? Maybe me bursting out in laughter the moment I saw a picture of the new mascot was a little bit excessive? Maybe I don’t know the first thing about mascot science? I’m prepared to admit that I may not know what’s good and what sucks in the world of mascotery, and that’s why I need your help. I want you to tell me what you think of the new mascot, and maybe even offer a suggestion about what they could have gone with instead. If you like Meth Cat the Lynx then jump in the comments section and tell me why I’m wrong. Agree or disagree, we’re all living this cat life together. 

  • BorealNinja

    They’re the Oilers! They should have just got some dude in blue coveralls with the high vis, and a hardhat, maybe some safety glasses? During intermission, he could go for a rip around the rink in his jacked up Chev!

  • Aitch

    Can’t lie, I actually laughed when I first saw him and assumed it was a photoshop creation, probably from one of this site’s contests. Then I found out this was real. I guess Wolverine was too expensive to lease as a mascot?

  • Spaceman Spiff

    It amazes me how many mascot experts have come forward in Edmonton over the last 48 hours.

    I must say – I’m an educated man, but I can’t claim to know much about creative processes behind choosing a mascot. Then again, it might also be because I’m 43 and the last time I would have set eyes on a mascot would have been the A+W Root Bear at a Canada Day parade in Grande Prairie 20 years ago, and that was only because I really – really! – wanted a root beer sucker.

    Otherwise, I’m prepared to defer to the Oilers marketing experts on this one and, it seems to me, anyway, that they’ve struck upon a winner that kids will like. And that’s really all it’s about, isn’t it?

    Truth be told, if there’s anything remarkable about Hunter the Lynx, it’s that it bears a closer resemblance to the actual animal than other mascots. The eyes, the mouth, the colour and texture of the fur – it’s all a decent likeness and certainly not the stereotypical cutesy and cartoonish look you see in many mascots. Make no mistake – the Oilers spent a lot of money on that mascot (no damn wonder Gatorade’s going to cost eight bucks in the new barn).

    That the Oilers chose a lynx is quite insightful and respectful of the province’s unique ecosystem. Northern Alberta is its largest habitat and certainly creates more of a local connection to the Oilers than … say … a certain mutt-in-cowboy-hat mascot does to a certain Calgary-based hockey team named after the burning of Atlanta by Union soldiers 150 years ago.

    I grew up in a rural area at the edge of the boreal forest south of GP and I can tell you that lynx are indeed a rare sight. But if you do happen to come across one, it’s an honour and a privilege. They’re a beautiful animal – compact, and powerful, with wonderful and complex colourations. They’re also quite fearsome-looking – piercing eyes, big teeth and sharp claws. If I’m walking on a trail at night and I have a choice between encountering a mountain lion (which also frequent the woods around GP), or a lynx, I’d choose the latter because they’re smaller and less aggressive… but it would be a startling experience, nonetheless.

    In my mind, choosing a creature that inhabits rural northern Alberta is a page out of the same playbook that chose the aboriginal artwork for the Winter Garden pedway. A few weeks ago, we all marvelled at Tsa Tsa Ke K’e, the magnificent flowing mosaic crafted by Cold Lake First Nations artist Alex Janvier. It’s a beautiful piece of artwork that, in addition to impressing us, educated us. We were all forced us to actually learn something new and some of us have come to refer to Rogers Place as Iron Foot Place, an approximate translation of the artwork’s name. Wow-oh-wow, have we ever come a long way from the Octane girls.

    Instead of picking a generic bear or a moose or a buckaroo-hound-dog, the Oilers designed a mascot that’s actually forced us to learn something about our province, our nature and the fearsome and beautiful creatures that inhabit hidden places far away from downtown Edmonton. I’m sensing that kids will get that, even if the would-be mascot experts of the last two days don’t.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        Nah. I don’t think it’s a small sense of humour. It’s a small sense of cynicism. There’s a difference.

        Cynicism is what happens when we grow up under a gospel of too much Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. We all fall over ourselves making pithy remarks about everything that comes along.

        And, when it comes along with the Oilers, we love to pile on because they’ve been big stumbling, bumbling targets for the last 10 years or so. It’s become our knee-jerk reaction with this team. Over and over again. I don’t think I’m a fuddy-duddy for pointing that out, even if I’m in the minority. I just calls it as I sees it.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        Yes, and, honestly, that’s a far better point against the lynx than most I’ve seen made on here and other places.

        That’s the risk you run when your team’s nicknamed is linked to a specific industry or occupation. If they were the Edmonton Loggers (or Miners, or Steelers, or Trappers, or Insurance Adjusters), they’d face the same dilemma.

        But that’s where the marketing part comes in, I guess. What are kids more likely to gravitate to … a fearsome-looking animal from a habitat endangered by the oilpatch, or something “safer.”

        I mean … if they were to market directly to the team’s name, I suppose the mascot could have been a oilpatch worker. Bless all of the workers in our beleagured patch, but I’m not sure that would have nearly the marketing appeal.

  • Lou11

    The Oilers first year in the NHL (79/80) they actually did have a mascot named Eddy the Oiler. He was a Orange Oil Drop with a hockey stick and skates. You could buy merch with his image on it and he would walk around during the games. Kind of like Punter (Esks)or Homer (Trappers. He only lasted about half the season. The suit has to be somewhere in a hidden closet at Rexall.