It was supposed to be over. During the 2015 season, the Anchorage Igloos‘ Petey the Polar Bear and the Michigan Gray Wolves‘ Wally Wolf were proxies for the rivalry between the West’s two top teams. Both mascots feuded throughout the season before finally burying the hatchet during an on-ice sumo wrestling match in the last week of the season. Since the mascots made nice, members of both teams (including Michigan LW Vladimir Beruschko and Anchorage coach Sam Castor) have insisted that the hostilities were dead and gone, never to resume.
Looks like the declaration of peace was a bit premature. When the Igloos and Wolves clashed on Friday at Arctic Circle Arena, Petey’s official Twitter account was hacked. Upon investigation, the hack was discovered to be the work of Michigan’s mascot. Not only is the Petey-Wally rivalry back, it has entered a new frontier.
Wally traveled with the Wolves for Friday’s much-anticipated showdown. It’s unusual for a mascot to join a team for road games, but the Wolves said that they had brought him as “a good-luck charm” and “to give him a chance to catch up with his friend Petey.” The two mascots met for tea on Friday afternoon at an Anchorage cafe; video of the rendezvous appeared on both teams’ websites. All seemed normal.
But during Friday’s game, a series of unusual tweets appeared on the @IgloosPetey account. Typically, the Anchorage mascot doesn’t tweet much during games, apart from a few pro-Igloos messages and the occasional selfie with fans. During this game, though, Petey was atypically active. In addition, the content of his messages was far different than his standard fare.
“My butt itches,” @IgloosPetey tweeted about six minutes into the games. From there, he issued a series of tweets predicting that the Igloos would lose the game, adding insults directed at several Anchorage players and even the city itself. After C Jake Frost pushed a slapshot wide late in the first period, a tweet reading “Frost is overrated” appeared on the account. Later, @IgloosPetey issued the following slam: “Anchorage is a two-bit town that smells like rotten fish… ugh!”
Igloos officials became aware of the situations when fans began tweeting complaints to the account. At first, they thought the culprit was a disgruntled employee, but they later realized that the account had been hacked. The team quickly took steps to regain control of the account, and by the end of the game (a 3-2 Igloos win in overtime) the offending tweets had been deleted.
When the front office discovered that the account’s password had been changed to “W@llyRuleS!”, they were able to identify the culprit. Apparently, during the seemingly friendly lunch, Wally got hold of Petey’s phone and was able to change the password to his Twitter account.
Anchorage GM Will Thorndike took umbrage to the hack. “I am deeply disturbed that Wally Wolf would resort to cyber warfare,” Thorndike told reporters. “And to take advantage of a friendly get-together to launch his nefarious plan… that’s so low, I have no words. But if that’s the way he and the Wolves want to play it, we can do that. The mascot war is back on!”
Replied Michigan GM Tim Carrier, “I am disappointed to hear these accusations against Wally on the basis of very flimsy evidence. But if the mascot war is back on, so be it. Oh, and in case the Igloos intend to try something when they come to town: Wally’s Twitter account has two-factor authentication.”