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Meet the horrifying new mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers: Gritty

Like a cross between Maurice Sendak drawing, a monster from Chinese mythology, and LA Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has arrived. The first Flyers mascot since their 1976 representative, Slapshot (not to be confused with the current Washington Capitals mascot), leaving the NY Rangers the lone NHL team without a mascot. Gritty. The mascot for one of the nastiest sports team in history, Gritty’s hideously terrifying complexion perfectly reflects the city from which he hails. His eyes flail about, as if independent from his consciousness, and he can’t even skate. In fact, moments after the first time he publicly set foot on the ice at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, he fell, helmet over skates, barely managing to keep hold of his t-shirt gun. According to a statement from the NHL, the great beast is often caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni, after scarfing down hot dog after hot dog, filling the bottomless pit he calls a stomach with greasy stadium food, and snow drenched with the blood and sweat of muscular, toothless Russians.

Philadelphia as a city is not unfamiliar with monstrous mascots, as emphasized by the mascot for their baseball team, the Philly Phanatic. The green mascot’s thirty-year tenure has been marred by incidents involving hot dog cannon face shots and brawls due to the excessive mocking of coaches and players. But Philadelphia is not alone in this string for Gritty is just another link in the chain of strange mascots appearing in recent years. In February, New Orleans Pelicans mascot, King Cake Baby, began terrifying fans, reporters and players alike. While doing his best to “entertain” during a rain delay, he danced, with his bulging eyes staring down the crowd, before he turned his gaze to the broadcasting room where he slowly walked towards the reporters behind the desk, like a villain in a horror film.

Fans of the Flyers have taken to Gritty, quickly turning him into an internet meme by photoshopping him into the background of photos, allowing him to fully express his shifty appearance. Gritty responded to this increased attention by increasing his Twitter presence, even threatening to kill fellow NHL mascot, the Pittsburgh Penguin within a day of existing.

I speak from experience, because I am a former mascot. For four years in high school, I was Obie The Obezag, mascot for The Key School in Annapolis, MD. That’s right, once a week I would dress up as a giant gazebo with arms and hamburger helper hands, to cheer on my school’s sports team. So trust me when I say, I know what a bad mascot is, and Gritty is at the top of that list.

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