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We read last week of the introduction by the Edmonton Oilers of a new team mascot, their first ever.

Hunter the Canadian Lynx will make his debut Monday night at the first NHL game at the new Rogers Place arena on October 3, where the Oilers will face off in a pre-season game against the Calgary Flames.

A lynx was decided on because it was the most popular choice in a survey of 2,200 kindergarten to Grade 9 students.

The reviews, so far, are mixed. Some were hoping that the mascot might be less menacing and more child friendly. Time will tell.

“Hunter” is but the most recent addition to what is now a full roster of team mascots.

Way back when (6 team) era team mascots were not common.

The first that comes to our mind is a most memorable one – Pete the Penguin.

Pete, the Penguins’ first mascot, was an Ecuadorian-born penguin on loan from the Pittsburgh Zoo. Penguins officials even had special ice skates made for Pete by CCM.  A skater from the University of Pittsburgh taught Pete at the arena how to ice skate.

Pete made his first appearance during the second intermission of a game against Boston on February 21, 1968.    In all, Pete made six more appearances. His last appearance was on November 16, 1968 during a game against the New York Rangers. Pete He died of pneumonia on November 23, 1968. It is believed by some that his death was due to the ice crew at the Civic Arena keeping his nesting area too warm.

After his death, Pete was sent to an area taxidermist, after which he was later displayed for a whole in the lobby of the Penguins team offices at the arena. However, the stuffed Pete was later removed from the lobby after a few concerned callers objected to its presence there, according to then Penguin owner Jack McGregor. 

A second penguin mascot, dubbed “Re-Pete’“, was later loaned to the team and made it through the 1971-72 season. 

The team later adopted Iceburgh, a more traditional mascot, for the 1993-1994 season. 

A second popular Pete, this one a human, would surface in 1977 after Peter Mahavolich was traded to the Pens from Montreal in return for Pierre Larouche.

 

 

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