With their beloved mascot of two years embroiled in an ugly legal dispute, the Philadelphia Flyers have moved on to a new one. At least, for now.
Smoothie, the team’s new mascot, follows Gritty, who has been accused of attacking a 13-year-old boy at a team fan event last November. Smoothie will be introduced to fans on Saturday, February 1st during the Flyers home game against the Colorado Avalanche. The team felt that after the bye week was the perfect time for everyone to get acquainted.
“We all wish Gritty the best during his ‘vacation,’” the Flyers announced through a statement. “In the meantime, we think fans young and old will love Smoothie, who’s just as fun-loving as Gritty but in a more calm, laid back, chill way.”
The Flyers recently re-connected with Smoothie, who they first met in 2018 just after they introduced fans to Gritty. Gritty was immediately a phenomenon even beyond Philadelphia, going viral across the internet and being featured on comedy shows, web series and a host of other outlets.
With an ongoing investigation based on accusations of a father who claims Gritty charged and attacked his son after they sat for a picture with the mascot at Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers felt the need to slow down their relationship with the character and let the case play out away from the cameras.
Enter Smoothie, who contacted the Flyers via Facebook after the Gritty news broke just to say “Hey. I’m here for you.”
“Smoothie is really great and we expect to make a connection in the same way we did with Gritty,” said Flyers director of community relations Dennis D. MacKelly. “Gritty will always be a member of our family. But he needs time to sort some things out right now and so we feel it’s okay for us to see other mascots while we’re on a break. So far, Smoothie has really been an oversized, padded shoulder to cry on.”
MacKelly is quick to say that Smoothie isn’t a “replacement” for Gritty but instead a new friend who they’re just getting to know better.
There’s no telling how long Smoothie will be living with the Flyers, but the team says the new mascot will still keep their place across town and will only stay the night if the weather is bad or they’re too tired to drive home. According to sources, pictures of Gritty remain up all over Wells Fargo Center and Smoothie hasn’t asked for them to be removed or even made a big deal about them.
“Smoothie understands what the entire Flyers organization is going through at the moment, and is really here just to lend support,” said MacKelly. “If things progress beyond friendship, we’ll talk about it then. For now, we’re trying to keep this all very casual.”
Smoothie has already made good first impressions with those around the Flyers, and the team is hoping that the fans will eventually embrace the new mascot in their life.
“We didn’t talk much, but the new guy seems nice,” said Flyers head coach Sylvester Stallone. “The other guy seemed nice, too, but I didn’t know him that well. I try to mind my own business, ya know?”
This is obviously incredibly fake, but Gritty’s case is very, very real. Thanks to Laura and Achariya for the inspiration.