By Geoff Kirbyson
Aside from the odd player on the opposition bench and a few on the home side, Gabe Langlois is the best-known person at every Winnipeg Jets home game. Known simply as ‘Dancing Gabe,’ the 51-year-old has ingrained himself in Winnipeg’s sporting culture over the past quarter century for his unparalleled fandom and his unmatched dancing skills.
Whether it’s the Jets, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes or high school sporting events around town, Langlois is there, showing off a soft sneaker whenever the music plays.
You want popularity? Cults would kill to have the following he has. Consider the fans who gathered at the intersection of Portage and Main in Winnipeg to celebrate the return of the NHL in May 2011. When Langlois joined the throng, the chants of “Go, Jets, Go!” were quickly replaced by “Gabe, Gabe, Gabe!” and he was mobbed for pictures and high fives. Read more
If you’re looking for a Jumbotron hockey video that includes a soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Laura Branigan and a plotline starring a polar bear capable of flying a fighter jet, have we got a link for you.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks commissioned this video for the Alaska Nanooks‘ 2009-10 team, and calling it off the wall is an understatement. It begins, appropriately enough, in the Arctic Circle – but that’s where things start to get weird: an icebreaker makes its way through the frozen waters, apparently electrifying a polar bear that somehow had been frozen beneath the surface and enlarging it to Godzilla size (that point is also the point at which someone thought Branigan’s “Self Control” was a smart musical choice); Bearzilla proceeds to fashion a Fox-on-NHL-style glowing stick out of thin air, uses it to destroy the boat and everyone on board in a fairly serious overreaction, then makes his way onto the aforementioned jet to go full Maverick-from-Top-Gun.
From there, Bearzilla and a group of bear-pilots proceed to attack multiple places of higher learning before dropping a bomb into a volcano (something vaguely Scientology-ish there) and blowing the entire earth to smithereens. You’d think the bear wouldn’t have much to do after having destroyed the planet and all the innocent life forms that once lived upon it, but you’d be wrong – he still has enough juice in the plane to fly it, Interstellar-style, through a wormhole and intro an alternate universe where hockey is played on a giant brownie.
What, you think I made these past two paragraphs up? Go ahead, see for yourself: Read more
More than anything, I want to meet the guy (or woman) who stood up in the planning meetings for the Adirondack Flames this summer and said the following: “Hey everyone, I have a great idea. Let’s give our new mascot a name that conjures up recollections of a fire that almost destroyed our whole town once.” (Slow clap follows.)
Suffice it to say, it has been an inauspicious debut for Calgary’s American League farm team in Glens Falls, New York. At its first news conference, the dais was adorned with a banner that had Calgary’s flaming ‘C’, then Adirondack’s flaming ‘A’, followed by the ‘C’ then the ‘A’. Which seems innocuous enough until you realize that it spells, C-A-C-A. Flaming C-A-C-A, no less.
On the ice, the Flames are 0-2-0 and have been outscored 11-2, so they’ve got that going for them. And in their first game of the season, resident meathead Trevor Gillies got himself suspended for 12 games with an act as senseless as you’re going to see on the ice this season. Read more
You know the injury epidemic in the NHL is getting really bad when the mascots start going down. Not to be outdone by the likes of Derek Stepan and Jordan Staal, Gnash of the Nashville Predators is out six-to-eight weeks with a broken fibula in his left leg. Really. The team announced that.
Now normally, news of a mascot on the sidelines would be welcomed by your trusty correspondent. Spoiler alert: I’m a middle-aged white guy. And as such, I see mascots as an annoying waste of fabric. From the San Diego Chicken to Youppi! – abominations one and all. When two of them get into a fight at a college football game, I’m cheering for both of them to get beaten up. I admired Craig MacTavish when he pulled Harvey the Hound’s tongue out a few years back. I laughed out loud about 20 years ago when an ECHL player whom I believe was coached by Chris McSorley, went after the opposing team’s mascot in the stands because it kept hitting him with a pair of inflatable lips. “Our coach gave me the green light to go after their mascot,” was his explanation. Gold. Read more
By now, you’ve probably had a look at Victor E. Green, the Dallas Stars’ freshly unveiled mascot. You’ve also visited the nearest emergency eyewash station, flushed thoroughly and patted your face dry with a paper towel.
Victor is ugly. He’s that friend with a great personality who never gets responses on OkCupid and doesn’t know why. Oscar the Grouch, Youppi and a cockroach held hands, stepped inside Jeff Goldblum’s telepod from The Fly, and out popped Victor. He’s that giant toy you win at the beginning of a day at the amusement park and wish you could throw away.
The Victor vitriol is intense. A small sample from enraged Stars fans on Twitter:
“It looks like a booger with legs…”
“As long as his name is the Grinch that stole the Stanley Cup. ???”
“Vomits uncontrollably. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR FANS?”
Dawn Mounce bleeds black and silver. Or purple and gold. Or whatever color scheme the Los Angeles Kings are sporting that day.
Now, with the help of graphic designer Eric Poole and tattoo artist/pal Sean Heirigs, Mounce is oozing every shade of her team spirit and then some via a stunning playoff-themed tattoo.
Have you ever watched a professional sports mascot do his thing and think “well I could do better than that”?
Have you ever heard a rendition of the national anthem that you didn’t particularly like, laughed at a singer for flubbing the lyrics, or slipping and falling to the ice?
(Feel bad for the lady; still going to watch the video.)
Well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
The Calgary Flames have a couple job openings within the organization. First, the team is looking for someone to sing the Canadian and American national anthems at Calgary Flames, Hitmen and lacrosse’s Roughneck games (plus other performances as requested) for the upcoming season.
From the job posting on Workopolis: Read more
In the third and final installment of our NHL playoff quarterfinal match-up Mascot Showdown, it’s the L.A. Kings’ Bailey against the Anaheim Ducks’ Wild Wing. In the first two clashes, Montreal’s Youppi romped over Boston’s Blades, while Chicago’s Tommy Hawk got the best of Minnesota’s Nordy. That means Game 1 in each series has been claimed by the team whose mascot won the THN.com showdown (not including the Penguins’ Iceburgh, who got a walk because the Rangers don’t employ a mascot). Coincidence? I’ll leave that up to you. Read more