The series between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will be settled on the ice, but the “who’s the better mascot” war will be settle right here, right now. It’s Blades vs. Youppi!. Who’s better?
BIO (full version at bruins.nhl.com): Once, there was a bear — a very special bear. He loved hockey. Having stumbled upon the game while searching for food late one very cold fall, he noticed a group of people playing a fantastic game with sticks and a puck on a frozen pond. The players, especially the children, glided along the ice, sometimes moving very fast, sometimes tumbling into each other, sometimes celebrating when the puck went into the goal. One of the players, who was a very good hockey player, was very kind to the children, and often stopped to help them with their sticks or with their skate laces or just to laugh. And boy, that nice man could laugh! He wore a snazzy jersey colored Black & Gold. It was decorated with a big B and a number ’9′ on it and everyone called him ‘Chief.’
The man named Chief was talking and laughing with the children and playing hockey on the frozen pond, so the bear snuck into the back of Chief’s truck. After all, Blades wanted to know where the nice hockey player lived. But Chief was not going to his home; he was going to the Garden for a Boston Bruins game. Oh, what a surprise for the Chief when a large bear jumped out of his truck.
But Chief, being the Chief, was not scared and realized that the nice animal was hungry and not a bit scary. So Chief went to the concession stand to get some pizza, some hot dogs, some popcorn and pop for his new friend. While the bear munched, Chief decided that the bear needed a name. So he went to the stands and asked some of the young fans what they should name the bear. One young girl from Winthrop named Jillian Dempsey, who was a hockey player herself, suggested ‘Blades.’
The Bruins players welcomed their new mascot and gave him his own XXXL jersey, some size 13 wide skates and a new hockey stick. Blades has been a fixture in the Garden ever since.
BIO (full version at canadiens.nhl.com): The 1979 baseball season saw the Montreal Expos welcome a new mascot to the team named Youppi! The lovable orange giant had the honor of throwing out the first pitch of the club’s April 14 home opener in front of 35,654 fans at Olympic Stadium; the Expos then proceeded to beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-0.
Youppi! made Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager, lose his temper after dancing atop the opposite team’s dugout on the 11th inning. Youppi! was then thrown out of the game by the umpire, becoming the first mascot to ever be ejected from a Major League Baseball game. Not to be outdone, Youppi! later returned and quietly took a nap on top of the Expos dugout. The game ended in the 22nd inning, the longest match in Expos’ history, after Rick Dempsey’s homerun against Dennis Martinez led the Dodgers to a 1-0 win.
A sad day for Montreal, Youppi! and his teammates bid farewell to their fans and the city of Montreal, following the re-location of the Expos to Washington, D.C. at the close of the 2004 season.
Growing up in Quebec, Youppi! decided to stay home where, for over 30 years, he has made thousands of friends of all ages. As a free agent mascot, he was ecstatic to join the Canadiens, not only because it was an opportunity for him to pursue his role of crowd entertainer in a new home, but mostly because it gave him the chance to reconnect with his numerous friends.
Thus, on September 16 2005, Youppi! made history two ways, becoming the first mascot to ever work in two professional sport’s leagues as well as becoming the first official mascot of the Canadiens in 96 years of existence.
Time to make the call. Who’s the better mascot? Vote below.