Gritty

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Gritty
Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty.jpg
Gritty meets a fan
TeamPhiladelphia Flyers
DescriptionLarge, furry, orange creature in Flyers regalia
First seenSeptember 24, 2018
Related mascot(s)Phillie Phanatic
WebsiteNHL.com/flyers/fans/gritty

Gritty is the official mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League (NHL) team. He is a 7-foot (2.1 m) furry orange creature with googly eyes who wears Flyers gear.[1][2] Gritty has been compared to the Phillie Phanatic, the mascot for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.[3] He was created by Brian Allen of Flyland Designs with help from David Raymond, the first man to portray the Phillie Phanatic.[4] Gritty was introduced on September 24, 2018.[5] According to his official biography, Gritty emerged after construction at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers' home arena, disturbed his secret hideout.[6] Within the months following his debut, he became an internet sensation and made appearances on several talk shows.[7]

Since his creation, he has been met with increasingly positive reviews.

Creation[edit]

Prior to the 2018–19 NHL season, the only two National Hockey League teams without an official mascot were the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers.[8] The Flyers' previous mascot, Slapshot, lasted only for the 1976–77 season.[9] In 1995, the Washington Capitals introduced their own Slapshot, named by fifth-grade student Stephanie Williams in a contest.[10]

The impetus behind Gritty's creation started when the Flyers' marketing department attended the mascot events at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, Tennessee, and realized that they were missing out on all the marketing and community outreach programs that the league's mascots were generating for their respective teams.[11] The Flyers then commissioned Brian Allen of Flyland Designs in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, to design Gritty in August 2018.[12][13] David Raymond, who portrayed the Phillie Phanatic, consulted on Gritty's creation.[14] The Flyers organization wanted Gritty to have a rather intimidating appearance, as "someone you'd high-five but not hug" according to Allen.[8]

Career[edit]

Gritty made his debut on September 24, 2018, and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon several days later.[15][16] Gritty was active on social media from his debut: his odd appearance and stunts on Twitter, such as seeming to threaten the mascot of the Pittsburgh Penguins and recreating Kim Kardashian's "Break the Internet" photograph, contributed to his rise in infamy. Within days, Gritty's Twitter account had more followers than any other NHL mascot.[7] In his first on-ice appearance, Gritty fell while firing T-shirts into the crowd from a T-shirt cannon.[17] In his second appearance on ice, Gritty body-checked contestants in a goalie race during an intermission and shot a Flyers staff member with a T-shirt cannon.[17][18]

On October 13, 2019, the first ever "Gritty anti-runners 5K" took place. This 5K race included Gritty's favorite things along the track, including hot dogs, silly string, and a shrine to Claude Giroux.[19]

In November 2019, during a fan meet-and-greet between Gritty and Flyers season ticket holders, a fan reported that the Flyers employee portraying Gritty punched their 13-year-old son in the back. After an internal investigation by the Flyers led to no other witnesses of such abuse, the fan reported the incident to the Philadelphia Police Department, which has led to its own investigation. On February 3, 2020, the Flyers employee portraying Gritty was officially cleared of any wrongdoing and charges were declined to be filed following an investigation conducted by the South Detectives Division of the Philadelphia Police Department.[20][21][22]

Gritty introduced the Philadelphia Fusion during 2019 and 2020 home-stand matches.[23][24]

In May 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania, Gritty began wearing a face shield.[25] In September, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health released a promotional video featuring Gritty to encourage wearing face masks in public,[26] and in December the department and the NHL cleared Gritty to resume public appearances at Flyers games.[26][27]

Reception[edit]

Many sources brought attention to his appearance, which could be construed as frightening,[3][15] while The Guardian described him as an "acid trip of a mascot".[28] Response to Gritty's introduction was immediate and sharply mixed, with many fans on social media expressing bewilderment and some fright at his appearance.[29] Public perception of Gritty became increasingly positive as Gritty's antics, which subverted the cuddly, family-friendly appearance and demeanor of other NHL mascots, gained more attention on social media.[17] Gritty was lampooned on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Saturday Night Live.[30][31]

Philadelphia residents embraced Gritty shortly after his debut as representing the city's rough and tumble character.[32][33] The city council passed a formal resolution honoring Gritty in October, declaring that he honored the city's spirit and passion.[8][34] Within two months, the mascot amassed almost 200,000 Twitter followers.[7] Gritty was the top league mascot in a 2019 vote of the NHL Players' Association.[35]

Gritty was reappropriated as a leftist icon, as activists identified with the mascot's "cheerful, unkempt, maniacal demeanor"[8] and googly-eyed, anarchic mirth. Gritty appeared on a Philadelphia anti-Trump protest banner a week after his debut and was spread through leftist online forums and Internet meme groups[33] that depicted Gritty with themes of anti-capitalism, socialism, and anti-fascism.[8] Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym described the Trump vs. Gritty phenomenon as "one orange horror has been met with another."[36] When Philadelphia played an important role in determining the 2020 presidential election, social media users depicted Gritty, as the city personified, defeating outgoing incumbent Donald Trump.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flyers introduce new 'Gritty' addition to team". NBC Sports Philadelphia. September 24, 2018. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Sciarrino, John (September 27, 2018). "The Internet Thinks the Philadelphia Flyers' New Mascot Named 'Gritty' Is a Nightmare". Maxim. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Meet Gritty: The Flyers' new team mascot". 6abc Philadelphia. September 24, 2018. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Douglas, Nick (October 10, 2018). "I'm David Raymond, Creator of Gritty, and This Is How I Work". LifeHacker. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  5. ^ "Flyers Introduce Official Team Mascot". PhiladelphiaFlyers.com. NHL Enterprises, L.P. September 24, 2018. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  6. ^ "Gritty". nhl.com/flyers. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Gritty: How a NHL mascot became an internet sensation". BBC News. November 28, 2018. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e Yuhas, Alan (November 1, 2018). "Gritty's First Month: The Heroic Ascendance of a 'Ghastly Empty-Eyed Muppet'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Macy, Evan (September 27, 2018). "Man inside Flyers' original mascot, Slapshot, has some advice for Gritty". PhillyVoice. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  10. ^ McKee, Sandra (November 18, 1995). "Caps beat selves, give Pens win in OT Defensemen put two in own net in 3-2 loss". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  11. ^ "Gettin' Gritty Wit It: Flyers new mascot a big hit". USA Today. Associated Press. October 4, 2018. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Muthler, Lauren (September 24, 2018). "Philadelphia Flyers' new mascot, 'Gritty,' designed by Belleofnte's Brian Allen | Centre Daily Times". Centredaily.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Maggie Smolka (September 27, 2018). "Bellefonte man helps create Philadelphia Flyer's new mascot". Wearecentralpa.com. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Ao, Bethany (September 24, 2018). "Gritty, the Flyers' new mascot, is set up for success. (According to the Phillie Phanatic, anyway.)". inquirer.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "NHL mascot rankings: Gritty's big debut". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "LOOK: New Flyers mascot Gritty dances with Jimmy Fallon, gets punched by Ricky Gervais". CBSSports.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c Jeremy Schneider. "9 Ridiculous Things Gritty, the Flyers' New Insane Mascot, has Already Done". nj.com. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  18. ^ "Gritty stormed the ice and started bodychecking Flyers employees during in-game stunt". Bar Down Sports. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  19. ^ "A Gritty-themed 'anti-runners' 5k is happening". The Philadelphia Inquirer. August 29, 2019. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Hetrick, Christian. "Did Gritty punch a 13-year-old boy in the back? Philadelphia detectives are investigating". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  21. ^ "Philadelphia Police Investigating Claim Flyers Mascot Gritty Physically Assaulted Teen Boy During Photo Shoot". January 22, 2020. Archived from the original on January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  22. ^ Driver, Stephanie (January 23, 2020). "Everyone is talking about Gritty". Broad Street Hockey. Archived from the original on January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  23. ^ Rand, Emily (February 17, 2019). "Overwatch: Grit, and Gritty, lead Fusion to 2-0 start". ESPN. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  24. ^ @overwatchleague (February 15, 2020). "HIs majesty, the fuzzy orange king of Philly, graces us with his presence!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ @{{{GrittyNHL}}} ({{{May 12, 2020}}}). "{{{No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.}}}" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ a b Henninger, Danya (December 23, 2020). "Philly health department clears Gritty for Flyers games, NHL relents". Billy Penn. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  27. ^ Budryk, Zack (December 23, 2020). "NHL, Philadelphia health department clear Flyers mascot Gritty to attend games after petition". The Hill. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  28. ^ Cantor, Matthew (September 27, 2018). "Gritty: why the Philadelphia Flyers' new acid trip of a mascot must be stopped". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  29. ^ Blackburn, Pete (September 25, 2018). "It's Gritty! Philadelphia Flyers New Mascot is Pure Unadulterated Nightmare Fuel". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  30. ^ Nick Vadala (October 1, 2018). "John Oliver compares Brett Kavanaugh to Flyers mascot Gritty on 'Last Week Tonight'". .philly.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  31. ^ EJ Smith (September 30, 2018). "'Saturday Night Live's' Weekend Update takes its shot at Gritty". philly.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  32. ^ Ellie Silverman (October 13, 2018). "What is Gritty? A 'lovable monster,' the orange embodiment of Philly and the Flyers, or a brand marketing breakthrough?". .philly.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  33. ^ a b Stephen, Bijan (October 17, 2018). "Gritty became a leftist meme because Philly loves a righteous hooligan". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  34. ^ "Gritty, Stuff Of Nightmares, Has Been Officially Welcomed To Philadelphia". NPR. April 18, 2018. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  35. ^ Cale Ahearn (March 20, 2019). "Gritty voted NHL's Best Team Mascot | WPMT FOX43". Fox43.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  36. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (December 24, 2018). "Gritty's evolution from googly-eyed hockey mascot to meme to leftist avatar, explained". Vox. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  37. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (November 6, 2020). "Gritty memes: Why is the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Donald Trump's enemy?". Vox. Retrieved November 8, 2020.

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