Hunter and the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs: An NHL Mascot’s Journey

Drums banging, chants roaring, and electric crowds marked the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs. As the Edmonton Oilers hit the ice against the Florida Panthers, Hunter the Lynx, the Edmonton Oilers’ beloved NHL mascot created by IMC, was a central figure in rallying spirits in Rogers Place and across the city. But what did NHL mascots like Hunter do to make the Stanley Cup Final so memorable?

NHL Mascot Hunter and the Pre-Game Excitement

Hunter’s job as an NHL mascot is never done, and he channelled the team’s energy in every outing. Before each game, Hunter could be spotted in the crowds swarming Edmonton’s Ice District, hyping up fans, posing for photo ops, and leading chants like “We Want the Cup.” Around the city, Hunter visited the legislature to meet with the provincial government and surprised dedicated fans with game tickets as a token of appreciation. After each win, Hunter was the first on the ice, raising the “Play La Bamba” flag.

The Stanley Cup playoffs also saw a surge in sports mascot merchandise, celebrating Hunter with NHL mascot plushes, hoodies, and even Hunter-themed cookies. Throughout the playoffs, NHL mascots participated in promotional events, social media campaigns, and community outreach programs, adding an element of fun and camaraderie that made the finals unforgettable for fans of all ages.

When Did Hunter Become an NHL Mascot?

A good NHL mascot is the go-between for the fans and the team, bringing excitement to the crowd or representing events. Hunter joined the Edmonton Oilers in 2016 after a fan-driven process that surveyed over 2,200 students from the Edmonton region, who chose the Canadian Lynx as the mascot animal. Hunter is named after “Wild” Bill Hunter, the original owner of the Oilers, and proudly wears #72, marking the founding of the Oilers in 1972.

Hunter has always been a crowd favourite, not just during the finals. The NHL values mascots for their ability to boost mood and crowd engagement, especially during games. This is celebrated annually at the NHL All-Star Weekend Mascot Showdown in Las Vegas, where mascots show off their skills and participate in fun activities like dodgeball. Keep an eye out for Hunter at the next NHL All-Star Mascot Showdown!

Hunter nhl mascot in the ICE District
Timon Johnson / CBC

Create Your Own Sports Mascot with IMC

Is your team feeling inspired after watching the playoffs? Our team of mascot designers can help turn your mascot ideas into a reality. Our sports mascots are designed to be easy to transport, clean, and wear, so you can use them at every event and get the most out of your investment. More importantly, our mascots are designed to fit cooling gear, allowing you to wear the mascot costume every season.

If you’re looking for the right person to perform, we can help! Our partner suppliers can help find you a performer in your area who can help bring out your mascot’s personality and charm. Ready to bring your character to life? Request a quote today, and let’s get started on your perfect mascot!