Like it or not, the Philadelphia Flyers have a pretty big influence and presence in South Jersey. I grew up here and am a rabid fan of the team, as I've explained about a million times. It's the team that's covered in my area, plays 30 minutes from me and has a practice facility 20 minutes from my house.

I routinely run into current and former players who live here in South Jersey. They are a part of New Jersey. I've been a fan most of my life and always looked up to the Flyers as a class organization with an excellent reputation around the NHL and the hockey world. What they did this week was beyond disappointing and embarrassing. They introduced a mascot!

This isn't baseball, some struggling basketball franchise or a minor league team that needs to draw kids in to bring their parents out to meet some smelly seven foot creature of unknown origin. This is hockey, dammit! I fell in love with the game and the team as a kid and so did all of my kids, including my daughter, who played in several leagues. We don't need some gimmicky, merchandising whore of a team mascot. We need exciting gritty players. We need to go deep into the playoffs. We need a Stanley Cup!

Hey, I'm happy some fairly athletic, somewhat rhythmic 20-something has a smelly average paying job, but this is embarrassing. I already have my NJ Devils and NY Rangers fans giving me grief anytime the Flyers make a dumb move on the ice, and now this! His name is "Gritty" and is supposed to appeal to the hard-nosed, tough reputation of the team's storied past, when guys would drop their gloves and punch each other's faces into bloody messes. We'd much rather see that than...whatever this mess is. Keep this guy in the basement until the "Muppets On Ice" come to town and let him bother them!

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