Gritizens, it Gritty’s third birthday.
Entering the 2018-19 season, the Flyers were one of just two remaining NHL teams without a mascot (looking at you, New York Rangers). Everything changed on Sept. 24, 2018, when the team gave birth to their towering orange fur ball of a mascot, Gritty.
Initially, Gritty and his gruesome googly eyes were met with some skepticism and horror, but over time he has won the hearts of Philadelphians and established a loyal following of Gritizens worldwide. Since then, he’s become the most visible face of the Flyers (sorry, Claude Giroux) worthy of his own stage at the Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher even signed defenseman Ryan Ellis, a guy whose reddish beard resembles Gritty’s mane, and it was likely just for that one reason and definitely not for any hockey-related reasons. Nope.
Today, Gritty hopped on a motorcycle in typical Gritty fashion and led a brigade through the streets of Philadelphia to celebrate three years since his spawning. Let’s take a stroll down memory Broad Street and reminisce about Gritty’s most outrageous moments.
He was born
The Flyers unveiled their beloved orange creature with an introductory video that featured him skating in front of some monitors and rotating his stomach like the Phillie Phanatic. What a natural!
Of course, Gritty got his headshots done for the special occasion, so he had to share a photo on Twitter.
He threatened the Penguins on Twitter
The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t care much for Gritty’s grand entrance into the world and they made it known on Twitter. Gritty wasn’t going to let the Flyers’ cross-state rival diminish his big day, so he sent them a pretty clear message that he wasn’t going to be messed with. Just like that, Gritty was officially a Broad Street Bully.
He remade Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover
Gritty quickly established himself as an influencer when he recreated Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover from 2014, with a gravity-defying stream of water erupting like a geyser into a martini glass balanced on his behind.
He came in like a wrecking ball
Miley Cyrus who? Gritty made quite the entrance at the Flyers’ 2018 home opener when he dangled from the ceiling and dropped to the ice to the tune of Cyrus’ hit song, “Wrecking Ball.”
He wiped out on the ice
Remember what I said about Gritty being a natural? Cool, now forget that I said that. He wiped out on the ice when the recoil of his t-shirt cannon sent him toppling over backward.
He blasted someone with a T-shirt cannon
Gritty’s issues with the T-shirt cannon continued. This time, he shot a Flyers in-game entertainment crew member in the back from point-blank range. Why? Because he’s Gritty.
He went streaking
At the Flyers’ 2019 Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Gritty went rogue and dashed across Lincoln Financial Field completely naked. Well, he wasn’t totally naked — he was sporting his signature black helmet. A few security guards seemingly wrangled him, but naturally Gritty escaped their clutches and resumed streaking.
He found Mini-Gritty
Gritty met his tiny clone at the Wells Fargo Center in 2019 and he appeared overjoyed to have a new dance partner. Listen, Gritty may not be able to keep up this professional mascot thing forever and it’s important that he trains the next generation of entertainers. It seemed like Gritty approved of Mini-Gritty’s slick moves.
He trolled Brad Marchand
On Jan. 13, 2020, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand overskated the puck on a shootout attempt, which resulted in a 6-5 victory for the Flyers. A couple of months later, Gritty made sure Marchand wouldn’t forget the blunder when he held up a sign against the glass during a game against the Bruins. Anything to get inside the opponent’s head, right?
He traveled to Toronto, Ohio instead of Toronto, Ontario
Gritty attempted to support the Flyers in the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which were held in a bubble in Toronto. However, he must have entered the wrong address in his GPS, because Gritty ended up in Toronto, Ohio instead of crossing the border to Canada. Remind me to never ask Gritty for directions.
He surprised a boy at a Philadelphia hospital
In June 2019, Gritty surprised Caiden O’Rourke at Shriner’s Hospital for Children-Philadelphia with a visit. O’Rourke, who was born with an orthopedic condition that prevented his leg from fully forming, also had a customized Gritty prosthetic leg. His reaction to seeing Gritty is priceless and absolutely adorable.
He participated in the Fastest Skater competition at the All-Star Game
OK, fine, maybe Gritty is a pretty good skater. At the 2019 All-Star Game, Gritty faced off against S.J. Sharkie, the San Jose Sharks’ mascot, in the Fastest Skater competition. Gritty maintained a fantastic stride throughout the race and Giroux was pleased with his best friend’s performance.
He was the answer to a Jeopardy! question
What is, OMG? Gritty was the answer to a question on Jeopardy! in 2019. The question asked, “The World Almanac’s editors picked items for a figurative 2018 time capsule, including this furry orange mascot of the Philly Flyers.” Eric Backes, an attorney and government-relations professional in Texas and a native of Wyckoff, N.J, answered correctly.
He got a makeover on Queer Eye
Last year, Gritty got a makeover from the cast of Queer Eye. Hosts Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Bobby Berk attempted to revamp Gritty’s appearance and lifestyle. It was a valiant effort, but it’s hard to change perfection.
He turned three
Gritty wrote an eloquent poem to his biggest supporters on his third birthday. Later that day, he toured around Philadelphia atop a motorcycle and stopped at places like the Art Museum, City Hall, and Logan Square before finishing at the Wells Fargo Center. It’s going to be hard to top his fourth birthday celebration, that’s for sure.