CARLTON THE BEAR
|NHL Affiliate: Toronto Maple Leafs|
Weight: 260 lbs.
Favorite team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Super skills: Un"Bear"able slap shot and able to lead Leafs' fans in roaring "Go Leafs Go!" chants
Little known fact: Named after Maple Leafs Gardens' address and should surpass Leafs' great George Armstrong in games during the 2023-24 season, barring any un"bear"able circumstances
October 10, 1995 was a memorable night in Toronto, not only because the Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 7-3 in the home-opener, it was also the evening that the team's mascot, Carlton the Bear, made his roaring official debut.
Over the course of his career, Carlton has led a countless number of "Go Leafs Go" cheers. He has not only taken in memorable Toronto events like the final Leafs' game at Maple Leaf Gardens and the opening of the Air Canada Centre, but more importantly than that, he has put a countless amount of smiles on people's faces.
The last two seasons have been momentous for the lovable Toronto mascot, as the Leafs have knocked off one of their Canadian rivals, the Ottawa Senators twice. Last year was especially gratifying for Carlton and Toronto, as the Sens didn't even win one playoff game, losing four straight to the Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Two years ago, the likeable bear also witnessed some great Leafs' hockey, with the dramatic overtime goal scored by Steve Thomas in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Centre against Ottawa standing out in his mind. These wins over Ottawa are so special for Carlton because they not only mean that his team advances in the postseason, but also because it gives him bragging rights over one of his biggest rivals, Spartacat, the official mascot of the Senators.
Check out Carlton, as he invades enemy territory in Ottawa and Washington, trying to convert fans of other NHL clubs into Leaf-rooters. (Carlton Videos)
Carlton the Bear also chaired the first annual Mascot Summit during the NHL's 50th All-Star Game held in Toronto in the 1999-00 season. Every NHL mascot was present to discuss (through interpreters of course) topics ranging from creating fun on the videoboard, to community appearances, to how to get nacho cheese out of one's fur!
But not all of Carlton's good times have come at home in Toronto. This bear loves to travel the globe and visit new places. Over his career, his paws have touched down in places such as Montreal, Boston, Ottawa, Vancouver, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington, Tampa Bay, New Jersey and New York.
Carlton likes to keep track of how many Leafs games he's attended and entering this season, only 130 Leafs players have more games under their belts. Carlton is scheduled to pass Leafs great George Armstrong during the 2023-24 season. Carlton also hopes this achievement will put him in the running to have his jersey number 60 retired to the rafters with all the other Leaf greats of the past. In his career, the bear has made appearances in 17 cities and has tossed 4,153 T-shirts into the crowd. Even though this action puts a strain on his paws, he doesn't mind as he'll do anything to make hockey fans happy.
When he's not entertaining the fans, Carton likes to stay at home and take in Leafs' game, where he watches closely the play of his current favorite player, Tomas Ka"bear"le, while eating giant pretzels and arena nachos. The Bear also likes to listen to his favorite group, "Bear" Naked Ladies or watch his favorite movie, The Bad News Bears.