From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast, and even the Arctic, there aren’t many places Puckster hasn’t been.
Since being “drafted” by Hockey Canada in 2006 and debuting at the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Winnipeg, Man., the organization’s official mascot has been coast to coast to coast, representing the organization at everything from international championships to minor hockey tournaments.
In the last year alone, he has appeared at Hockey Canada events from Langley, B.C., and Camrose, Alta., to Saguenay, Que., and St. John’s, N.L., with stops in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and even Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, in between.
“It really has been impressive to see the growth in popularity of Puckster,” said Dean McIntosh, director of marketing services and events for Hockey Canada. “He has become a major part of what we do and how we promote and communicate our messages.”
He has become, in the last five years, the face of Hockey Canada, and his popularity has led to his own Facebook page www.facebook.com/hcpuckster, a starring role on the Hockey Canada Kids website and the addition of a few friends and teammates: Roly the Black Bear, Sarah the Fox, Charlie the Chipmunk, François the Beaver and Manny the Moose.
Puckster and Friends appeared in a comic book that was distributed as part of the kids’ mail-out in the fall of 2010, and in a calendar as part of the 2011 mail-out.
In late 2011, the first two children’s books featuring the group – Puckster’s First Hockey Jersey and Puckster’s First Hockey Game – were published, with two more scheduled for publication in time for the 2012-13 hockey season. Both books are available for purchase through Indigo.
“It’s just another way to get the Puckster character out there,” McIntosh said of the children’s books. “And it’s for more than just hockey fans; they’re terrific books for children, whether they’re fans or not, and hopefully it turns some of those readers into fans.”
For a host committee, there are countless benefits to having Puckster on site prior to and during their event.
From in-venue interaction with fans, particularly young ones, to helping out with on-ice promotions and contests, assisting with related development activities or simply serving as a goodwill ambassador for Hockey Canada and the tournament, Puckster can play a major role in the successful execution of a national or international event.
“We want Puckster out to as many events as possible, of course,” said McIntosh. “Hockey Canada has its messaging and its programs, and whether it’s teaching kids about the basics of the game, keeping them safe on the ice or just interacting and reminding people the game is fun, we see Puckster as a huge part of that.”
If a host committee, branch or minor hockey association would like to request Puckster for their event, they’re asked to contact Hockey Canada’s marketing services and events department for more information