Five days. Five whole days. That’s how long Scorch lasted on this Earth. From Scorch's immediate unveiling, it never stood a chance to last. The backlash began immediately and only multiplied once the dark history behind those big, googly dead eyes was learned.
After the Abbotsford Heat relocated to Adirondack, N.Y. ahead of the 2014-15 American Hockey League season, a new mascot was needed. The Heat had Hawkey, a red-tailed hawk. But the Adirondack Flames decided to use this new mascot to pay homage to a 150-year old tragedy that is part of the city’s history.
Auditions were held on Sept. 5, just under a month before Scorch’s big reveal. Inside Heritage Hall at the Glen Falls Civic Center, home of the Flames, six individuals showed off their moves to songs ranging from Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance” to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” to the immortal “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen.
It was quite a scene. Just watch the video:
From there a winner was chosen and so it began.
Scorch debuted to the world one year ago today, Oct. 9, at Bride and Gown which, according to The Post Star, was a blacksmith shop that was one of the few Glens Falls businesses to survive a massive fire in 1864.
The Adirondack Flames debut their mascot: Scorch pic.twitter.com/VhcltsNhJb
— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) October 9, 2014
"The Scorch design struck me as an odd choice," said Nearhos in an email to Puck Daddy. "Furry animal types do well with kids and Scorch was hard to read as what it was."
Immediately, social media wondered which local third grader designed the outfit — though the flaming shoes were pretty sweet.
“Is the head a mailbox?” wondered @CJZero.
“If THIS won, what were the rejected mascot ideas?” asked Canadian Press contributor Darren Haynes.
And it was almost a matter of time before Scorch was snuffed out.
You see, Scorch came with a backstory -- a backstory that would soon lead to its demise.
According to the Flames, Scorch was the last smoldering ember of the great fire of 1864. Corny, but whatever; we're talking about a mascot. But then The Post Star released a video skit featuring Scorch overpowering a firefighter, symbolizing the fire's domination over the city 150 years ago.
To celebrate, Scorch then decided to do some sort of Irish jig.
The Flames claimed the skit was created in part with the Glens Falls Fire Department, though in a statement the next day the fire department backed an incredible distance away from any involvement other than to say they loaned a set of firefighting gear for the actor to use.
"The team knew it was blowing up very quickly," Nearhos said. "I actually had to head to a small town with poor cell service immediately after the unveiling, so I didn't see any of the reaction to my tweet. When I got back into cell range, my Twitter notifications were blowing up and I had a voicemail from the team."
Within hours of Scorch's introduction, the Flames released a statement acknowledging their mistake.
“While it seemed in good taste when it was on the drawing board, it is evident now that it was in poor taste,” wrote Flames president Brian Petrovek in a statement that featured the word “apologize” three times.
Five days later, Scorch was no more as the Flames announced they would be “extinguishing” the mascot.
Two and a half months later, on New Year’s Eve, the Flames introduced Dash the Dalmatian, their new mascot to zero controversy, other than those fans clamoring for Scorch to return.
A month later the AHL announced that the Flames would be part of the league’s western division and the franchise would relocate to Stockton, California. But hockey wouldn’t be leaving the area forever. The Calgary Flames would purchase the ECHL team in Stockton and move them to Glens Falls, renaming them the Thunder.
Their mascot? A viking named Gunnar.
We all learned a lot from Scorch's brief existence, but most of all was don't include possible murder in your mascot's backstory.
Scorch may be gone, but his flame is an eternal one, one we’ll remember always via this Anthony Cook video.
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