Friends, we have a spoiler for you: 49 of the 50 spots on the Top All Time Flames list are taken up by human beings. At #33, we have a humanoid animal.

Let’s talk about Harvey the Hound, the first (and arguably best) mascot in the National Hockey League.

Mascot, 1983-present

Created in 1983 by Grant Kelba, Harvey the Hound is an anthropomorphic 6’6″ dog who is the mascot of the Calgary Flames. He made his in-game debut in February 1984, and has been a fixture of Flames home games ever since. He’s typically clad in a jaunt hat, a dog collar and pants, and usually is engaged in a lot of antics and tomfoolery in-between whistles. His debut led to a league-wide trend towards mascots to liven up the in-game atmospheres, to the point now where just about every NHL club has one.

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In January 2003, Harvey was involved in antics and tomfoolery during a game against the Edmonton Oilers that earned him national (and even international) attention. With the Flames leading the Oilers 4-0, the mascot dangled his head over the plexiglass behind the Oilers bench. Oilers coach Craig MacTavish – understandably grumpy with his team down several goals – reacted by tearing Harvey’s tongue out of his mouth and throwing it into the crowd. (The Oilers came back and nearly tied the game.) At the 2003 All-Star Game, mascots from throughout the league responded to the incident by showing up with comedic large red tongues – similar to Harvey’s – added to their usual outfits.

Why is Harvey on the Top 50 list?

  • He’s influential. He’s the first official team mascot in the NHL and began the league-wide trend. He’s more associated with the Flames brand to casual fans than most of the club’s players.
  • He’s excellent. He’s objectively a great mascot. His antics are light-hearted and fun, and he often wears costumes that coincide with the events the team is involved in (like Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Pride, and so on).
  • He’s got longevity. Harvey’s been a fixture at Flames games for the better part of four decades. If there’s a charity or community event that needs livening up, you can bet Harvey will be there. He’s an institution in Calgary.

Harvey being a gigantic dog and not a player or executive keeps him from being higher on this list, but his longevity and excellence in his role gets him to #33.

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Top 50 Flames of All Time

Honourable mentions | #50 Brad Treliving | #49 Sonia Scurfield | #48 Curtis Glencross | #47 Colin Patterson | #46 Jiri Hudler | #45 Jim Peplinski | #44 Jim “Bearcat” Murray | #43 Nelson Skalbania | #42 Dion Phaneuf | #41 Reggie Lemelin | #40 Joel Otto | #39 Dan Bouchard | #38 Paul Reinhart | #37 Tom Lysiak | #36 Eric Vail | #35 Tim Hunter | #34 Al Coates | #33 Harvey the Hound

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