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Utah Hockey Must Seize Howler The Yeti For Their Own Nefarious Purposes

16 Nov 1999: The Mascot of the Colorado Avalanche smiles for the camera during the game against the Ottowa Senators at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Senators 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
Brian Bahr/Allsport

It's pretty ironic that the current Colorado Avalanche mascot, Bernie the St. Bernard, is described by the team as "a symbol of integrity, strength, and loyalty," because the Avs showed no loyalty whatsoever to their first and superior mascot, Howler.

When the Avs moved from Quebec and shed the Nordiques name, they also left behind the Seussian mascot Badaboum. Instead, they debuted Howler the Yeti, who was a yeti, and literally imprinted him onto their brand through the use of their "bigfoot" alternate logo. Howler, however, has not been seen since 2001.

As the Avalanche made their Stanley Cup run in 2022, KUSA in Denver investigated his disappearance. They came upon an AP story from 1999 about a scuffle between Howler and a 20-year-old rival fan at an Avs game. Despite his reputation as "Colorado's friendliest bigfoot," the fan told KUSA that the mascot was participating in a practice known as "bonking." Her summary of events helped create an instant-classic local-news graphic:

-Wearing boyfriend's Blackhawks jersey-Went outside to smoke-Howler "bonking" fans with posters-Linda pushed him-Howler pushed back
Howler pushed back.

The AP also had a quote from the fan's dad, who said Howler "kicked her in the stomach." Howler's trail runs cold after that, but he's remained a kind of fringe meme on the hockey internet. He's gone, but not forgotten, and that's crucial, because as the former Arizona Coyotes plot their path to a fresh start in Salt Lake City, at least one of their proposed team names is just crying out for the return of Howler.

The Blizzard is so similar to Avalanche that I'm shocked it's in the running, but even more relevant is the possibility that a Utah Yeti will be suiting up in the NHL soon. There is no more obvious opportunity for a Howler comeback, and already the buzz is getting louder. The combination of Howler and the Utah Yeti is a negative for many fans who prefer a more unique identity for the Beehive State. (Never mind that the Coyotes already had a mascot of their own named Howler, though he was—see if you can guess—a coyote.) I have a counterproposal for those sour speciesists.

Imagine this. It's October of 2024. The Utah Yeti are squaring off against the Colorado Avalanche in their first-ever home game. All of your favorites are there: Michael Carcone, Jack McBain, Lawson Crouse. The crowd goes wild for their introductions. But then a crack is projected onto the ice. Thunderous bass shakes the building. The place goes dark and fills with smoke. Oh no! What's happening? A single spotlight cuts through the void. Standing at center ice is none other than Howler The Yeti, still alive after all these years, and wearing the gear of his new favorite team.

Colorado won't know what hit them. Cale Makar will be an emotional wreck. It'll be the Trojan War all over again. The bad blood from this defection would fuel brawl after brawl—the kind of intense, cutthroat rivalry that hasn't really existed in the NHL since Howler roamed the Rockies and terrorized the Motor City. Immediately, the Mountain time zone becomes the center of the hockey world. Nobody will be able to look away.

It's a foolproof plan. I just need one thing: Can anyone tell me where I might find Howler the Yeti?

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