Anna Katherine Clemmons
Anna Katherine Clemmons is a contributing writer for ESPN The Magazine.
However, the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot might possibly not have invaded our lives quite as quickly without his memorable — and painful — first skate. Since the Flyers get prepared to welcome Washington on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+), let’s get back to his epic noodle introduction on Sept. 2-4, 2018.
Here is a two-minute oral record of this nighttime that the new king of Philadelphia was born.
Brian Allen, Gritty’s designer: The single guidance the Flyers gave us was that they were pretty sure they wanted the mascot for a creature — someone you’d like to high-five although perhaps maybe not hug.
Christine Mina, digital media manager for the Flyers: That first day we were very on the fly, producing the plane once we were flying . Tons of men and women were becoming involved in the conversation — our rival, the Penguins, tweeted”lol ok” at usand Gritty tweeted,”Sleep with one eye open tonight, bird.” That is when his first bit of real personality arrived.
Lou Nolan, Flyers PA announcer in his 46th season: For your first game, I was not sure where or when he’d be arriving outside. Unexpectedly there is what resembles a 7-foot-5 orange personality walking onto the ice. I don’t believe fans knew what to do .
Gritty, via a mascot interpreter: All I remember is falling on the ice. Ice is incredibly hard. Hit my noggin pretty bad. Do not remember much after that. I didn’t quite have my ice bottoms . First days are tough — Claude [Giroux, Philly’s team captain and close Gritty confidant] explained so. In terms of the viral section, I’ve been checked and I am tidy.
Gritty took the internet by storm when he was introduced as the Flyers mascot. However, as Katie Nolan points out, other NHL mascots soured to the new comer.
Nolan: If he fell, I really don’t believe he was attempting to fall. There was laughter, however, he immediately came up with the snow angel, and people loved this.
Lauren Capone, Flyers promotion communications planner: In that game, there were people running out from these chairs to have photos.
Mina: He’d over 50,000 followers at nighttime, and he touched 100K within three days of those starting.
Gritty: I actually really don’t really like to bother myself with the folks who are talking about me personally; it’s about those who aren’t talking about me personally. @KimKardashian — I’ll wait… for ever.
Capone: He is like the little kid within everyone who wishes to push the boundaries. Even when he’s outside in public or on the concourse at a game, he has no problem putting a mom with a stroller aside and also taking the stroller for a joy ride across the concourse.
Mina: Occasionally he looks so sweet and adorable in what he’s doing. In other minutes, he’s being such a savage.
They set me free, now I can’t be tamed.