Sep 16, 2005

Youppi! returns to Montreal Canadiens Canadiens adopt beloved former Expos mascot

Canadiens President Pierre Boivin announced Friday the official lifetime adoption of Youppi! as the organization’s new mascot.

Youppi!, age unknown, will make history in becoming the first mascot in professional sports history to move from one league to another when he makes his in-game debut with the Canadiens in October 2005. The beloved orange-furred creature, a staple at Olympic Stadium from 1979 through 2004 while with Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos, found himself without a home when the latter franchise moved to Washington, D.C., ahead of the 2005 season.


Also on hand at the official signing of the adoption papers was former Expos Vice-President of Business Affairs Claude Delorme and Youppi! forefather and creator Roger D. Landry who was thrilled at the prospect of Youppi! finding a new home.

“I think this is a perfect fit for Youppi!,” said his creator Landry. “I couldn’t of imagined a better adoptive family than the Montreal Canadiens. I remember the night when we came up with his name like it was yesterday. I told Rodger Brulotte that I wanted a character that would make the kids say Youppi when they saw him. Rodger then said “That’s it, you just found his name”, and the rest is history.”

Youppi!, who took part in excess of 4000 public outings during his 26-year tenure with the Expos, will make his first public appearance in a Canadiens uniform at the team’s Jamboree on Sunday, September 18. Activities will begin with the Canadiens open practice at the Bell Centre at 9:00 a.m. Also featured during the day are street hockey games featuring Canadiens players and Alumni, photo and autograph sessions, and giveaway prizes, including tickets for the Canadiens’ preseason game the same night against the Atlanta Thrashers.

National Post: Montreal Canadiens obtain mascot Youppi! for undisclosed sum

Roger D. Landry, who described himself as Youppi!'s "spiritual father or godfather," said the mascot is the product of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Landry, a former Expos vice-president of marketing and public affairs, said it wasn't an easy task.

"The first model he made was not really to our liking," he said. "I wanted him a little more round and (Henson) had him more pointed."

Youppi! has not had a spotless career and in 1989 was ejected from a Major League Baseball game.

On Aug. 23, 1989, he was ejected in the 11th inning after then Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complained to the umpires about his dancing on top of the visitor's dugout.


Glen Street, who launched Harvey in 1984 and is president of mascot makers Street Characters, which supplies about half of the NHL's mascots, has some advice for Youppi!.

In an interview from Calgary, he suggested Youppi! may have to work harder.

"Baseball tends to be a leisurely stroll through the stands," Street said. "They (mascots) can go down into the dugout, spend time there and work out on the field.

"NHL mascots seem to be best at interacting with the crowd because they don't get the opportunity to be down on the field or the playing surface.

"Hockey is the only sport where the mascot is forced to be in the crowd for the entire event, except for the intermissions."