The mascot for the Rochester Americans, The Moose, could be in jeopardy of being shipped back into the wild.Â There have been rumors floating around that The Moose could be replaced by R. Thunder as the teams mascot.
With the recent news this week that Fred Costello would not be returning after 32 years and the news back in May that Jody Gage was no longer going to be General Manager after 14 years it’s not really all that surprising that The Moose could possibly be next.
The first thought about The Moose being released was that there’s no way it could ever happen.Â I started asking around and continued to hear that the idea either was brought up or is even still an option.Â Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to stay away from reporting rumors, but this one ranks an E5 on Eklunds scale.Â I’ve sent numerous emails to people in the front office to comment about this but no one has replied.Â I know that others have sent emails as well but and did not receive a reply.
I held off on writing this hoping someone would say, “that’s a crazy idea.”Â But apparently it is not that crazy of an idea if no one will comment.
There’s been more than enough positive press generated with the free agents signings this summer to improve the team, but the negative news stories such as Jody Gage and Fred Costello create more of a negative buzz that this franchise does not need.
This team needs to keep riding the wave of optimism for the season ahead compared to the last two dreadful seasons.Â They need to focus on winning and stop tampering with what people have come to know and love.Â Eliminating The Moose would be a disaster.
THE STORY OF THE MOOSE
The Moose was originally imported as a mascot for the Rochester radio station WMJQ from 1979-1981. The big fellow made his first appearance at an Amerks hockey game in 1979. His first full season as the Amerks mascot was 1980-81. In his career, The Moose has appeared at over 1,000 home games, including 732 in a row. Besides appearing in charity events and visiting American Hockey League and National Hockey League arenas, he has given over one million smiles and countless high fives.
It’s probably also worth noting he’s also scared thousands of kids and adults who are afraid of mascots along with making a few hundred babies cry.
The definition of mascot is an animal, person, or thing adopted by a group as its representative symbol and supposed to bring good luck.
Mascots are a big part of a lot of sports teams from the profession level all the way down to high schools.Â A team mascot a number of times is also the face of a franchise during the off season making appearances.
A mascot will get a crowd worked up, heckle the opposing team, give out hugs, high fives, autographs, pose for pictures, and provide entertainment to kids an entire game.
Fans go to games to see the team play, for the most part.Â Fans don’t think to themselves, “let’s go to the game tonight to check out the mascot.”Â But… when parents tell their kids it’s a trip to a sporting event the kids will often be on the lookout for the mascot.
The mascot is often a first memory for young kids about a team or event.Â An autograph from the mascot is the first that most kids will likely receive at a sporting event.Â It may also be the only autograph some will ever receive and they’ll cherish it for a long time.
In the modern sports era of free agency where players change teams often and in the minor leagues where players rarely stay more than a few years, the mascot is something fans can rely on to stay constant.
The Amerks without The Moose would be like the Sabres without Sabretooth, baseball without The Famous Chicken, the Phillies without The Phillie Phanatic… the list goes on.
A mascot is a teams identity.Â Especially a mascot that has been around for 30 years.
The mascot is also what a lot of Kids Clubs are based off of that have started in recent years.Â The Amerks launchedÂ The Mooseketeers Kids Club last season with great success.Â My son was a proud member and so devoted that he earned enough points to be The Mooseketeer of the year (in the yellow sweatshirt below).
Can you imagine an Amerks game starting without The Moose being introduced skating around the ice with the team flag waving?Â I can’t.
When, or maybe I should say IF The Moose celebrates his birthday with a party at an Amerks game this season I hope they can attract some mascots from other teams, not just a bunch of corporate mascots.
I’ve never had interest on reporting on rumors on this site, I have always reported information that I could confirm, but it was time to bring this to the spotlight in hopes that The Moose will be kept safe.Â If you know someone who works in the front office at Blue Cross Arena let them know it would be a horrible idea to get rid of The Moose.
After 30 years of appearances for The Moose at Amerks games I’m hoping to follow up tomorrow with a post saying there’s no way this will ever happen.