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Mascot Power Rankings: It’s Goldy Gopher by a foot

Dec 1, 2010, 1:23 PM EDT

goldyKISS

1. Goldy Gopher, University of Minnesota. (Last week: unranked).

By far the hardest working mascot in show business, it’s difficult to pinpoint the coolest thing about Goldy Gopher. He’s seemingly everywhere on campus; from Minnesota hockey games to the Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s 75th anniversary festivities. But here’s two great things I just learned recently: Goldy is the only college mascot to my knowledge who has dressed like a member of KISS and performed at halftime. Also, he’s had custom Nike shoes made just for him.

Chris Hui, a custom sneaker designer who attends Minnesota, designed the shoes especially for Goldy’s appearance in the National Mascot Competition at Disney World in Orlando in January (Goldy had finished tied for first in the qualifying competition). In addition to Minnesota colors and a custom M on the toe, the shoes’ trademark Nike swoosh is made of replica gopher fur.

Also be sure to check out the “Goldy Did It” series of videos on YouTube; a collection of minimalist Goldy antics in and around campus. Here’s my favorite: A subtle plea to help end the scourge of road kill.

2. Boomer, Columbus Blue Jackets. (Last week: unranked).

The Blue Jackets’ new alternate mascot looks like a male sexual organ in a wheelchair, a fact that has drawn some criticism lately. But the team has no plans to scrap Boomer, who they say is “a kid-friendly, cushy cannon character with a friendly face and fluffy moustache reminiscent of a Civil War-era general.” And that’s the first time in human history those words have been arranged in just that way. But that white plantation owner mustache would seem to place him on the side of the gray jackets, eh?

3. Sir CC, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Last week: unranked).

The Cavaliers are rolling out their new mascot, Sir CC, for the Miami Heat game on Thursday, but there’s some confusion here. According to this, Sir CC has been around since the 1970s, making cameo appearances at scattered Cavs games for three decades. More phallic imagery here (see Boomer above) that provides a real danger of lawsuits occurring when Sir CC accidentally gooses fans with his sword. Sir CC has been around since the Cavaliers’ first game of the inaugural season in 1970 at the Cleveland Arena and present for every milestone in franchise history, including the Miracle of Richfield in 1976, the 1980 and 1997 All-Star games, the opening of The Q (formerly Gund Arena) and winning the 2006-07 Eastern Conference Finals. OK, then.

4. French Explorer, La Salle University. (Last week: unranked).

Apparently it’s The Explorer’s birthday, only we’re not sure which one. The mascot first appeared in 1958, was ousted in favor of an astronaut during the space race craze of the late 1960s, then returned and was dinged again in 1998 in favor of a muscled superhero. Now he’s back for his third tour of duty, and the Explorers men’s basketball team (off to a 4-0 start) are giving away Explorer bobbleheads to the first 1,000 students and all children 12-under at Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State.

5. Hoagie the Hero, Subway Sandwiches. (Last week: unranked).

I had no idea that Subway had a costumed mascot; I had always assumed Jared Fogel served that purpose. But here he is, showing up to work drunk, as usual. On second thought, this actually looks like an inflatable character. Worst Macy’s Parade Float ever. Sad, really.

6. Rocky Raccoon, Great Falls Explorers, Continental Basketball Association. (Last week: No. 6).

We take you now to 2007, when Rocky, the mascot for the now-defunct Explorers, was caught after hours at Four Seasons Arena trying to siphon beer from the concession stand beer keg. Paul Clark (Rocky) was suspended without pay for this caper, which became the inspiration for the film Oceans 13.

7. The Bear, Boston Bruins. (Last week: unranked)

Apparently as reclusive and fearful of humans as the real animal, Bruins mascot The Bear had his “first-ever meet-and-greet” with a fan recently, as Chris Crawford of Medford earned the honor by winning the Bruins Hockey Rules online contest. The Bruins’ mascot has never met a Bruins fan? Hmm. Not seen: Attendants just off camera with stun guns and pepper spray.

8. Mickey Mouse, Disney. (Last week: unranked).

Of course you knew that Mickey Mouse would eventually find a way to crash the Mascot Power Rankings. The most resourceful of costumed corporate shills wedged himself in amongst Notre Dame players celebrating their 2010 Old Spice Classic title game win over Wisconsin (58-51) at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Sunday. (In high-pitched voice): “I’d like to say one thing to my wife at home, yo Minnie, I did it!”

9. Sugar Land Skeeters, Independent Atlantic League. (Last week: unranked).

Plucked from 8,000 entries in a name-the-team contest, the new independent pro baseball team in Sugar Land, Texas, will be named the Skeeters, it was announced today. “Next we’re going to work on the mascot. It may be a direct or indirect reflection of the name,” said team president Matt O’Brien. The Skeeters begin play in 2012 in a $40 million stadium to be built on the northeast side of Texas 6 and U.S. 90A. I knew you’d know where that is. [Thanks to Mick at DSB]

10. Fighting Pickle, University of North Carolina School of the Arts. (Last week: No. 9).

Originally suggested as a joke in a 1972 name-the-mascot contest, the vinegar-soaked vegetable pulled off an unlikely victory and has been the school’s representative ever since. Even though UNCSA has no officially-sanctioned athletic teams, students are very proud of their mascot, and for a time staged an annual touch-football game with a Wake Forest University fraternity.

  • Previous Mascot Power Rankings (Weeks 1-7).
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    Mascot Power Rankings based on mascot newsworthiness, awesomeness and/or spectacular failure. Think your mascot deserves to be ranked? Mascot Power Rankings depends greatly on your submissions. Send tales of mascot shenanigans, links and photos to Rickchand@gmail.com.

    1. epalmero - Dec 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM

      2007, though not at halftime. http://spartyalumni.com/Images/Media/Photos/Sparty/DSC01030.jpg