Nobody wants to mess around with Gritty (or Philly) and find out what happens, and on Tuesday night, the NHL announced that all mascots will be allowed in their home arenas, so long as they remain in nonrestricted areas and maintain face coverings and social-distancing guidelines.
“We gave the League the option to do this the easy way or the hard way,” Gritty said in a statement to The Inquirer. “They did the right thing.”
Titled “Make Gritty Essential: A Plea to the NHL,” the petition, which was posted by “Gritty Gritty” on Monday, had more than 12,000 signatures (and growing) as of Wednesday from people around the world who proclaimed Gritty is: “the wind beneath my wings” “Our lord and savior,” “hockey,” “a national treasure,” and “life.”
In the petition, the Flyers mascot wrote in energized desperation about his “long and treacherous” quest to reach Bettman (”I even tried to send a carrier goose”) to get permission to attend Flyers games next season.
“Without me, where is the joy? Where is the artistry? Where is the downright tomfoolery that delicately balances with the on-ice battles and displays of athletic prowess?” Gritty wrote. “One cannot simply exist without the other.”
He ended his plea with “Let’s get weird.”
Among the 12,000 signatories who backed the petition were Flyers fans, Penguins fans, Canucks fans, Blue Jackets fans, and people who proclaimed they don’t like hockey but love Gritty.
“I am signing as Gritty brings our Philly spirit at a time we cannot be there in person to do it,” wrote Maureen Szulewski. “Stop being a humbug and let Gritty do his thing.”
Some signed because they said Gritty was the orange ray of hope that got them through this year while others signed out of totally rational and justified fear.
“Gritty is an ancient powerful entity and we should never deny Gritty. The consequences could be catastrophic,” wrote Catherine Carter. “Long live Gritty.”
Despite the fact that Gritty’s last appearance at a Flyers game was in March, his popularity has grown exponentially this year, fueled, in part, by the endless stream of election memes created around him when all eyes were on Philly’s ballot count in early November.