Pass or Fail: Edmonton Oilers’ new mascot Hunter, The Nightmare Cat


When an NHL team introduces a new mascot, it’s truly a glorious occasion.

While many go on to become beloved facets of the franchise – giving out free hugs at the arena and helping to sell thousands of plush effigies to young fans – others end up on the ever-growing pile of bad ideas this League has produced. Like, for example, the Columbus Blue Jackets attempt to phase out an adorable googly-eyed bug in favor of a Civil War cannon that looked like a penis.

So into which category will the Edmonton Oilers’ new mascot Hunter fall?

The Oilers introduced Hunter on Monday, with the following explanation:

The Edmonton Oilers revealed the newest member of the Oilers family, introducing their official mascot, “Hunter” the Canadian Lynx. The mascot is named Hunter as a tribute to “Wild Bill” Hunter, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers who founded the team in 1972. As such, Hunter will also don #72 on his Oilers jersey.

You’ll notice the mascot has green eyes in honor of the million dollar contract Hunter used to steal Bobby Hull for the WHA.

The new Oilers mascot character will have a strong community presence and will make numerous appearances, including hospital visits, festivals, school visits and other community events. At Rogers Place, Hunter will be complementary to the game night experience, adding a new and unique element to fans’ experience while especially enhancing youth’s experience throughout Oil Country.

Weird there’s no mention here about how bringing on an actual mascot makes Matt Hendricks redundant. We digress…

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Working with the Edmonton Valley Zoo, the Canadian Lynx was identified through research and was ultimately chosen due to its heritage in Oil Country. There are more Canadian Lynx in Alberta than anywhere else in the world. Sightings are rare due to their reclusive nature.

So, in essence, one might say “Edmonton Oilers playoff appearances” are the Canadian Lynx of playoff appearances.

The team also said that it “surveyed over 2,200 students, from kindergarten to Grade 9, from across the city to identify which mascot concept they preferred,” which we also believe was the same methodology they used before deciding to make the Taylor Hall trade.

Anyhoo, Hunter is pretty much scary as [expletive].

Here we thought mascots were supposed to be cuddly representations of actual animals, rather than photo-realistic nightmare fuel. To wit:

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462034582_slide copy

“Awww … awww … ARRRRRRRRGH!!!!”

On the bright side, we’ve always wondered what the last thing a field mouse sees before its bloody death in the mouth of a Canadian Lynx.

It looks like the cover model of an issue of “Cat Fancy” guest-edited by Guillermo del Toro. At least it’s not voiced by Kevin Spacey.

But hey, it did clear the low bar set for mascots associated with team in Alberta, in that it hasn’t murdered a firefighter in a comedy skit. Yet.

Anyway, it’s great to see another addition to the NHL mascot family. What say you, dear readers?

PASS OR FAIL: “Hunter,” the Edmonton Oilers’ new mascot?

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.