The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild are division rivals, so they like to poke fun at each other when they can. On Thursday, that involved having the Wild’s mascot, Nordy, beat the crap out of the Blackhawks’ mascot, Tommy Hawk, because Nordy is a very, very mean mascot.
Seriously, what the heck is happening here?
The skit, which started with Nordy celebrating his birthday with his mascot pals and a piñata — pretty normal stuff! — quickly turned into a bizarre faux-smackdown that involved the announcer egging Nordy on as he laid into a helpless Tommy Hawk with a baseball bat.
At the end, Tommy Hawk is dragged off the ice. There doesn’t seem to be much cheering while that’s happening, probably because a bunch of people were wondering if they had just watched one mascot kill another mascot.
So this is kinda odd, right? Not that I have any grand opinions about the conduct of massive, fluffy anthropomorphic creatures, but it seems like one of the No. 1 rules should be, “Don’t scare the children.” Nothing about the skit really bothered me as an adult because I can handle watching mascots beat up each other. It does strike me as something bizarre that a good deal of parents probably had to explain to young kids, though.
The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc went a bit further, and wrote a column Friday criticizing the NHL for having some of its most family-friendly characters go all gung-ho on each other. He reports that the NHL has already contacted the Wild, and the team will release a statement on the skit.
So on the one side, they’re just mascots, and it’s hard to muster up too much frustration or anger about some fluffy goofballs. Hockey is a violent sport in general, too, so it’s not like this is some grand departure from some peaceful form of entertainment.
Still, that whole scene felt kinda bizarre, like a throwback to the era when the NHL didn’t realize how many casual fans are turned off by violence for the sake of violence. We hope Tommy Hawk survives his many injuries.
(P.S., here’s some advice for the Wild from Chicago: if you guys need someone to hop into a mascot brawl, just invite Robin Lopez.)