Who Is Gritty, And Why Do Hockey Fans Love Him So Much?

You don’t have to be a hockey fan to have heard of Gritty. The orange and ugly mascot has taken the world by storm since being introduced into the league ahead of the 2018-19 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know about the googly-eyed creature — and why everyone just can’t get enough of him.

Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot Gritty | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Where the heck did Gritty come from?

According to his bio on the team’s website — yes, the mascot has a flipping bio — Gritty is an avid Flyers fan who originally lived under their home barn. “He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know it,” the bio claims, “and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time.”

The bio also points out that Gritty’s mannerisms, much like his appearance, are quite odd. “A number of times he’s been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years.”

Gritty hanging out with fellow mascots at a basketball game | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

But where did Gritty really come from?

Impressively, another member of the Philly sports mascot family created the Flyers’ new mascot. Delaware native David Raymond, who dressed as the Phillie Phanatic for 16 years and founded the Mascot Hall of Fame, was behind the creation of Gritty. The Gritty we see at Flyers’ games looks close to Raymond’s original design, which didn’t include googly eyes and smoke coming out of its ears until the end of production.

No sooner had Gritty been unveiled that he was the subject of Twitter memes and late-night talk show jokes. Raymond admitted he didn’t know how Gritty would be received by the infamously negative Philly sports fan base — or that he would become a viral sensation so soon.”Just think of all the places he’s already been,” he told Delaware Online at the beginning of October, just two weeks after Gritty’s big debut. “He’s making these big appearances and getting an enormous amount of publicity in just two weeks. He’s having a blast.”

Gritty tries to pump up the crowd | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Why do fans like Gritty so much?

Honestly, it’s kind of hard not to like him. On top of being an so ugly he’s likable, Gritty’s persona has taken on a mind of its own. His Twitter feuds with other mascots are good clean fun, and his antics make for a highlight reel of bloopers worthy of laughs. But perhaps the most important part is how much Flyers’ fans have embraced him. Philly sports’ us-against-everyone-else mentality makes them the perfect fan base for a zany mascot such as Gritty.

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