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Youppi, or Youppi! (Yippee! or Hooray! in French) is the official mascot for the Montreal Canadiens and former longtime mascot of Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals).

Contents

History

Youppi! as the Canadiens' mascot

Youppi!, a creation of Acme Mascots, Inc. (a division of Harrison/Erickson, Inc.), was commissioned by Expos vice-president Roger D. Landry. Originally leased by the team in 1979, the mascot was eventually purchased by the Montreal Expos baseball and represented the team until they moved to Washington, DC, after the 2004 season. Youppi! was designed by Bonnie Erickson, formerly a designer for Jim Henson, and the creator of Miss Piggy, Statler & Waldorf and other Muppets. The orange, hairy giant was one of the most popular figures among children at Olympic Stadium, where he was often seen running around with his arms waving wildly during baseball games.

Youppi! was the first mascot to be thrown out of a Major League Baseball game: on August 23, 1989, in the 11th inning, while atop the visitors' dugout, Youppi! took a running leap, landing hard and noisily on its roof, and then snuck into a front row seat. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complained to the umpires and Youppi! was ejected, though he later returned, confined to the home team's dugout roof. Youppi! was also a frequent joke punchline of notoriously sarcastic Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray.

Youppi! is often referred to as one of only three mascots inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The others are the Phillie Phanatic of Philadelphia, another Erickson design, and the Famous Chicken from San Diego. Although their likenesses can be found in the displays in Cooperstown, their inductions to the Hall of Fame are not considered "official".

After the Expos moved to the District of Columbia and became the Washington Nationals, the team claimed that Youppi! would still be a part of the team in some capacity. However, this proved untrue, as the Nationals adopted a new mascot, the eagle "Screech". For months after the move, the fate of Youppi! hung in the balance. Negotiations were held with ten groups, including the Montreal Alouettes.[1]

On September 16, 2005, the Montreal Canadiens announced that Youppi! would become the first official mascot of the organization, and the first league-switching mascot in professional sports history. The terms of acquisition were reportedly in the six figures.[1] Youppi! now sports the Canadiens' bleu-blanc-rouge (blue, white, and red) jersey. Youppi's first game in the Bell Centre was on October 18, 2005.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Canadian Press (2005-09-16). "Canadiens get Youppi! to be Mascot". tsn.ca. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=136521. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 

External links








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