The Flyers are debuting their horrifying new mascot Monday night against the Bruins

"I’ve never seen that thing before in my life."

Gritty
–Ben Solomon / Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their first mascot in more than four decades Monday, and it may be the most frightening thing to come to sporting arenas since the original Pierre the Pelican.

Gritty — who is officially described by the NHL team as “a seven-foot, orange, fuzzy creature” — will make his debut Monday night in a preseason game against the Boston Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. But the Flyers introduced him for the first time Monday morning at a local children’s museum in front of 600 students.

The googly-eyed, bearded monster immediately drew comparisons on Twitter to Animal from “The Muppets,” Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street,” the lovechild of Animal and Cookie Monster, and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. According to the Flyers team website, Gritty is a “talented but feisty” competitor with surprising agility, who had been living in the depths of the Wells Fargo Center for years.

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“A number of times he’s been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years,” says the website. “That being said, there’s no denying that he’s one of our own.”

The team also welcomed Gritty into public society Monday with a 30-second, EDM-themed introductory video and his own Twitter account.

Flyers players themselves were a bit less embracing.

“It’s not my mascot,” right winger Wayne Simmonds told the Courier-Post at Flyers practice Monday morning. “I’ve never seen that thing before in my life.”

For his part, Gritty is already backing up his teammates — or at least tweeting menacingly at other teams.

The Bruins might want to watch their backs.