(Edmonton, AB) – The Edmonton Oilers revealed the newest member of the Oilers family, introducing its official mascot, “Hunter” the Canadian Lynx. The mascot is named Hunter as a tribute to “Wild” Bill Hunter, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers who founded the team in 1972, as such, Hunter will also don #72 on his Oilers jersey.
When Wild Bill Hunter brought the Oilers to Edmonton, he changed the world of professional hockey forever when he went head-to-head with the National Hockey League (NHL) and helped form the World Hockey Association (WHA). Quite simply, the NHL Edmonton Oilers, would not have been without Hunter and his belief in Edmonton as a big league hockey market.
The new Oilers mascot character will have a strong community presence and will make numerous appearances, including hospital visits, festivals, school visits and other community events. At Rogers Place, Hunter will be complementary to the game night experience, adding a new and unique element to fans’ experience while especially enhancing youth’s experience throughout Oil Country.
“The Oilers have a long history in our community and have always been extremely passionate about our outstanding fan base and community right here in Oil Country. Introducing Hunter as the Oilers official mascot is an opportunity to strengthen our connection in the community,” said Stew MacDonald, Chief Commercial Officer, Oilers Entertainment Group. “Hunter is passionate, energetic, approachable and loves the Oilers, just like our fans and we’re excited for everyone to meet our newest team member.”
Working with the Edmonton Valley Zoo, the Canadian Lynx was identified through research and was ultimately chosen due to its heritage in Oil Country. There are more Canadian Lynx in Alberta than anywhere else in the world. Sightings are rare due to their reclusive nature, but Canadian Lynx frequent Edmonton’s River Valley.
The Oilers also surveyed over 2,200 students, from kindergarten to Grade 9, from across the city to identify which mascot concept they preferred – the Canadian Lynx was far and away the most popular choice.
Hunter has a full schedule heading into the 2016-17 NHL season for the Oilers, and more details on private appearance opportunities will be released in the coming months.
Mascot Backstory: MEET HUNTER
Hi! I’m guessing you want to know what most other Oiler fans do. “Who am I and where did I come from?!?” Well, I just didn’t appear out of nowhere. Actually, I’ve been here for quite a while….
It all started when I was a young lynx, growing up in the beautiful Edmonton River Valley… 18,000 acres of beautiful urban parkland that I love dearly and am extremely proud of!
Like my lynx family and friends, I only come out at night to hunt, and on one of those nights I actually came across a bunch of kids playing hockey on an outdoor rink. One look at the game and I was hooked. The speed, the skill, the fun! I began climbing up the banks of the River Valley every night during the winter, catching shinny games with everyone wearing their Edmonton Oilers jerseys, both old and new! It didn’t take me long to become a hard core Oilers fan.
During the winter of 2013 I heard many shinny players talking about a new, world-class building that my beloved Oilers were going to play in. I was ecstatic, and knew right then and there that this was my chance to get in on the action.
On the night before the first shovel hit the ground, I packed up my stuff and made my way to 104 Ave and 104 St, where I built a secret den under the construction site, watching and waiting for this magnificent building to be completed.
Just as the finishing touches were being made to the building, I revealed myself to the Oilers. After their initial shock of a lynx living in a secret den below Rogers Place, they quickly realized how HUGE a fan I was, and how committed I was to the team.
They asked me to be their mascot, naming me HUNTER. It’s a tribute to “Wild Bill” Hunter, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers.
As the Oilers mascot, I can’t wait to get out in the community and help out wherever I can – hospital visits, charitable functions, events & festivals… I’ll be at all of them. You’ll also see me at games, doing everything I can to cheer on my beloved Oilers to victory.
And a watch-out to our opponents: I’ve got a fierce snarl, I’m known to be a prankster, and I’ll do anything I can to give our team an edge!
So that’s who I am. Be sure to introduce yourself when we cross paths. Although I don’t say much – or anything for that matter – I always enjoy high fives and hugs from fellow fans.
I can’t wait to meet you all!