Rating the NHL Mascots Based on How Cuddly They Look

With hockey season upon us, I think it’s time we take a look at some of the unsung heroes of the NHL: the team mascots. Each mascot is unique in their own way, and today, I’ll be rating them based on how cuddly they look.

Fl Panthers: Stanley C. Panther 7/10
Stanley has been through some changes over the years, but at the heart of it all is known as a fun-loving daredevil who enjoys interacting with the fans. He’s cute, relatively cuddly, and definitely embodies that feisty South FL spirit as only a big cat can.

Victor E. Rat photographed by Eliot J. Schechter, Getty Images

Fl Panthers: Victor E. Rat 3/10
We can’t forget Florida Panthers secondary mascot, Victor E. Rat. Victor E. pays homage to “the rat” incident in the Panthers locker room in 1995. While he plays a part in franchise history, I wouldn’t particularly want to cuddle up with him.

Photo by Roy K. Miller for Sportswire, via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning: Thunderbug 1/10
Tampa Bay’s mascot is literally an insect. A lightning bug, specifically. Sure, it fits the theme of the team… but as far as cuddles go, no thanks. When I think of lightning bugs, I think of summer nights spent catching them and putting them in a jar. A warm fuzzy memory to be sure, but that’s where the warm fuzzies end for this mascot.

Arizona Coyotes: Howler 8/10
Sure, Howler is a coyote, which is totally on the nose, given the team. But he gives off enough puppy dog vibes to be cuddly. There’s definitely a ‘Good Boy’ in there somewhere. He looks like he’d give excellent hugs. Would definitely give him a cuddle, even if he tried to bite me if I did.

Buffalo Sabres: Sabretooth 6/10
Sabretooth Tiger looks like someone I’d hire to entertain a child’s birthday party. Good for a quick snuggle for a photo op, maybe. The blue stripes are a nice touch, they definitely make him cooler than your average cool cat. But is he too cool for cuddles? Who knows. I’d also be concerned he may put my eye out with one of those trademark teeth.

Anaheim Ducks: Wild Wing 1/10
Wild Wing looks like he’d throw down for you if someone messed with you, but he’s not the emotional, cuddly type. You might get a celebration hug in the event of an awesome victory, but otherwise? Pass. Good in a rumble, absolutely. Fiercely protective? Yep. A hugger? Hell no. Just try it and see what happens.

Nashville Predators: Gnash 2/10
Gnash is another one of those intimidating, badass mascots who would be great to have in your corner if a situation goes sideways, but he’s not into PDA. He’ll give you a quick side hug if you get really bad news, but he’s not going to let a hug last longer than a second or two. Good friend, not a hugger except for extenuating circumstances.

Philadelphia Flyers: Gritty 5/10
Gritty’s very name exudes ‘tough guy’ energy. But just LOOK AT HIM. He looks so snuggly and warm. He’s the kind of mascot that looks like a cuddler but isn’t a cuddler till he warms up to you. Though I think once he’s in your corner, he probably gives great hugs. I admit though, I probably wouldn’t want to run across him in a dark alley.

San Jose Sharks: SJ Sharkie 1/10
He’s… he’s a SHARK. Now I know sharks get a bad rep as being scary, man-eating machines… and they aren’t. But That doesn’t make them cuddly. Despite knowing that sharks don’t necessarily want to eat me, I’ll still pass on this one, thank you very much.

Colorado Avalanche: Bernie 10/10
WHAT A GOOD BOY. Bernie the St. Bernard can give me hugs any time, any day, any place. He’s a doggo, therefore his cuddles are going to be top tier. I’ll take 12, please and thank you. Just try to keep the slobber to a minimum.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Carlton 10/10
Here we have ANOTHER top contender for cuddles. He’s a teddy bear! Look at him, looks like he’s already ready to give the world’s greatest hug. So soft, so snuggly. It’s a shame about his team, really, but that doesn’t stop him from giving a good hug. He’s looks like he’s a pro at cheering people up when they’re down. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

Washington Capitals: Slapshot 2/10
Well, they can’t all be huggers, and I don’t think too many people would disagree with the ranking on this one. He’s a bird- an eagle to be exact, and I don’t think those exude cuddle-bug energy. They’re super cool, but not snuggle material.

New York Islanders: Sparky 6/10
You know I had to pick a photo of Sparky playing leapfrog with Stanley. The playful energy is there, the fact that he’s a mythological creature is a bonus… Maybe he’s not the most cuddly, but I definitely would still give him a snuggle and ask him to tell me a funny story.

Chicago Blackhawks: Tommyhawk 2/10
We’ve got another bird, and to be frank, he looks a little confused. He looks like he isn’t quite sure what a hug is, and I don’t know that I quite trust him to give me one. That’s ok though, we can’t all be huggers. He gets a pass.

Winnipeg Jets: Mick E. Moose 3/10
Have you ever seen a moose in real life? They are terrifyingly huge and not at all like Bambi (though in fairness, Bambi was a deer, not a moose). He’s the mascot I’d ask to help me push my car to the side of the road when it stalls, but a hug? I don’t think so. Plus, his eyebrows kind of freak me out, I can’t lie about that.

Boston Bruins: Blades the Bear 6/10
We’ve got another teddy bear, but this one looks scarier than Carlton. Sure, teddies are cuddly and cute, but he looks like he packs a bit of punch beneath that soft exterior. Good friend, very loyal, and good for an occasional cuddle, but you know he’s not got a very ‘huggy’ personality. That’s alright though, because when he does give cuddles, they probably hit just right.

Montreal Canadians: Youppi! 3/10
I’m not even sure what to say about Youppi! if I’m being honest. He’s certainly an interesting choice for a mascot. He kind of looks like that one neighbor who always waves hello, and will offer gardening advice if your grass looks wilted, and you wonder what dark secrets he hides in his shed out back. Probably gives a good hug, but I don’t really want to find out. It’s his eyes, I think: that empty stare.

St. Louis Blues: Louie 10/10
Look, another bear! This one seems friendly and cuddly and warm. I also kind of love that he’s blue, although being the mascot of the Blues, that only stands to reason. He looks very huggable and loveable. Definitely would give a squeeze if given the chance.

Vancouver Canucks: Fin the Whale 2/10
Maybe it’s the fact that there’s legs on a whale. Maybe it’s the teeth in the gaping mouth. Whatever it is, I just have a hard time finding this mascot cuddly. But that’s probably a me problem, and I acknowledge that fully.

LA Kings: Bailey 6/10
King of the Jungle doesn’t scream cuddly, but I’d make an exception for Bailey. While not the most cuddly mascot, he’s definitely more snuggly than some of the other options out there.

Vegas Golden Knights: Chance 4/10
Chance is a fun-loving mascot who embodies that Vegas spirit well, but I don’t think he comes across as super cuddly. I think it’s the reptile in him. I love reptiles, but can acknowledge that they aren’t the snuggliest creatures.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Iceburgh 6/10
Iceburgh is, of course, a penguin. He looks goofy, like the ‘fun uncle’ who makes every family holiday a little bit more lively in a good way. Not necessarily the one you want to hug, but the one you’re glad you did.

New Jersey Devils: N.J. Devil 0/10
Nope. Nope nope nope. They say you should never make a deal with the devil… you probably shouldn’t hug him, either. From the horns to the questionable eyebrows to the creepy moustache, he doesn’t give off any friendly, snuggly vibes. In the wise words of Randy Jackson, “that’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.”

Columbus Blue Jackets: Stinger 1/10
We’ve got another bug, and he looks confused. Maybe it’s the grimace, or the eyes, but he looks like he’s not quite sure how he got here, or when he can go home. He for sure doesn’t look ready for hugs, though you almost want to give him one and help him find his way home.

Detroit Red Wings: Al 2/10
Lots of arms should mean lots of opportunity for cuddles, but that’s not really the case with Al. He just looks scary, like something you really don’t want to find while scuba diving, or hiding under your bed in the dark. Plus, he has no wings. Not even red ones.

Edmonton Oilers: Hunter 7/10
Sure, he’s a predatory cat, but look at how soft he looks! He looks like he’d be a great cuddle companion, especially on a snowy night with a nice fire in the hearth and a good book. He looks like an outdoor cat with an indoor cat’s heart.

Minnesota Wild: Nordy 10/10
Look at him! I don’t even know what kind of animal he is (does anyone?) but he looks so friendly. Absolutely looks like he loves to give hugs, and he’s probably great at it.

Seattle Kraken: Buoy 6/10
Buoy is the newest mascot in the NHL, and isn’t he just the cutest little troll? Time will tell how huggable he is, but he looks like he’d be down for a fun night on the town, at the very least. Probably gives his friends great hugs.

Calgary Flames: Harvey 7/10
Harvey is a hound dog, which automatically means cuddles, but that tongue is questionable. He does look soft and approachable though, so he’s got that going for him. The tongue really kind of freaks me out though. I have so many questions but I’m not sure I want the answers.

Dallas Stars: Victor E. Green 10/10
What a fuzzy, cuddly looking alien friend! So soft, so green. He may be intergalactic, but he looks like he’d do just fine in the hugging department. He reminds me a little of Bernie, the Miami Heat mascot, who I can confirm gives excellent hugs.

Carolina Hurricanes: Stormy 8/10
Such a sweet, happy ice hog. He looks so innocent and kind, and like he’d absolutely give you a hug if you asked. Heck, even if you didn’t ask but he thought you needed one. We love that.

Ottowa Senators: Spartacat 7/10
Another lion in the lineup, this one looks like he took a flat-iron to his mane. Nothing wrong with that, you do you, boo. A little less intimidating than his relative in LA, we must remember he is still a lion, so hugging him may be risky. But probably worth it.

All rankings are my personal opinion, and I respect the fierce loyalty teams have to their respective mascots.

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