Friday, November 10, 2006

Heeeeeere's Stormy!

Yes, my team's mascot is a pig.

I get asked all the time: "AQ, why the Hel is your team's mascot a pig?"

(Get some coffee and a snack, this could take a while)

Way back in 97 or so, when Uncle Pete was talking about moving the Hartford Whalers to the Carolinas (after being told to step off by Columbus and electing not to bother with Hampton Roads, VA), he had to come up with a name for the team. The marketing genii that inhabited his brain trust at the time had, according to lore, come up with several names for the team--one of which was the "Carolina Ice Hogs".

Wow, if that name doesn't scream "REDNECK", I don't know what does.

Cut forward to the move--the name decided on was "Hurricanes" (which pleased me, because I was named for one). Now they needed to find a mascot. At the time, the leading frontrunner for the naming rights to the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena was Murphy Farms (which is the leading pork producer in the state) because Wendell Murphy is an alumnus of NC State University and had already pledged up about $20Million or so for the naming rights.

I will forever owe a debt of gratitude to State for persuading Wendell Murphy to give his cash to the university directly instead of the Centennial Authority (who owns the building), thus sparing the Caniac Nation the humiliation of having its centre of power assume the appellation "The Hog Trough".

State repaid Wendell by naming the new training center for the NCSU Football team the Wendell H. Murphy Center (which you can see in this very impressive photo here--and it's equally nice-looking in person), and the Centennial Authority were free to pursue other naming rights options.

But there was still the issue of a mascot--which, it was decided, would be a pig in tribute to the biggest legal cash industry in the state:

That's the O.G. Stormy, which actually did look like a pig and was our mascot for the first five seasons in the Carolinas. Stormy's career didn't get off to the greatest of starts, as the first cat to wear the suit damn near kicked it before Greensboro Game One when he was overcome by Zamboni fumes. Ouch. But he recovered, and it was all good.

For the start of the 01-02 season, it was decided that there'd be a new look for Stormy--which led to this:

"Can't sleep, pig will eat me."

Crack much? Anyway.

Stormy's big thing is launching t-shirts into the crowd with the help of the Storm Squad, jumping through a ring of fire on a 4-wheel ATV, sliding head-first down banisters (and I swear I saw him run right into an RBC Center securebot once, which was quite funny), occasionally zip-lining down to the ice from the rafters, clobbering other mascots (especially Thunderbug, Slapshot, and any other SE Division mascot) and the occasional asshat, and toolin' around in his phat ride:

Unpimp THIS, V-dub!

He's so popular with a lot of the fans (especially the kids) that the 'Canes even made a Stormy retrospective for last season:

Man that pig gets around.


Shan said...

My vote forst Worst Mascot in the NHL.

Jordi said...

Stormy is pretty enjoyable, but that guy needs some new dance moves.

Heather B. said...

It looks like a bear with a pig snout. It's not even pig colored! Southerners can't do anything right! They have no business in the NHL!

(I'm kidding.)

Zanstorm said...

Hey Queen, on my screen, the pic of Stormy in his ride is too wide, and it pushed your sidebar to the bottom.
Why stormy a pig? He should be a big storm cloud or something! heheh

The Acid Queen said...

I think that when the name "Ice Hogs" got tossed, the idea of a pig as a mascot shoulda been tossed too.

Stormy v1.0 was much more pig-like than Stormy v2.0 is.

Tapeleg said...

It's a good thing they weren't named the IceHogs, as there would be a fight from the Rockford IceHogs. They have some serious hogs for mascots.