The Michigan Gray Wolves have not generally been known for their creative promotions. When they bother to hold a giveaway, it’s typically a scarf, a knit hat, a T-shirt, or maybe a rally towel… nothing out of the ordinary. This week, however, the Wolves held a children’s promotion that was truly unique — and reportedly developed by their mascot.
On Sunday, the first 5,000 children through the gates received a storybook that contained a retelling of a couple of classic fairy tales. The cover stated that the book was written by the team’s mascot, Wally Wolf. According to Michigan’s marketing department, Wally was inspired to write it in order to combat “rampant anti-wolf propaganda” found in many children’s stories.
“Honestly, Wally has a point,” said Wolves D Fritz Kronstein. “Think about all the fairy tales that include the Big Bad Wolf. What makes him so bad all the time? I definitely think it’s time to hear the other side of the story.”
In Wally’s take on the classic stories, the “Big Good Wolf” was cast as the hero. In the villain’s role were other animals — ones that bore a striking resemblance to the mascots of Michigan’s rival teams.
The first story in the book was a rewrite of “The Three Little Pigs.” In this version, the pigs built hockey rinks out of straw, sticks, and bricks. This time, they were visited by the “Big Bad Bear,” a giant earmuff-wearing polar bear that looks strikingly like Petey, the Anchorage Igloos‘ mascot. After the Big Bad Bear blows away the straw- and stick-built rinks, the Big Good Wolf arrives and chases off the villainous bear with a hockey stick, then teaches the pigs the finer points of the slapshot.
The second story is a fresh take on “Little Red Riding Hood.” Retitled “Little Blue Riding Hood” (because the heroine is dressed in Wolves’ colors), the story tells the tale of a young girl bringing Wolves tickets to her ailing grandmother. But before our heroine can get there, Grandma is kidnapped by the “Dirty Dog,” a brown dog in a sailor costume who resembles Salty Sam, the Portland Bluebacks‘ mascot. When Little Blue Riding Hood showed up at Grandma’s house, she noticed that something was amiss. “What long ears you have, Grandma!” she says. “What big jowls you have!” Just before the Dirty Dog can spring up and snatch our heroine, the Big Good Wolf shows up, chases the villainous dog away, puts Grandma and Little Blue Riding Hood on the back of his motorcycle, and races them over to the Wolves game just in time.
“Finally, it’s a fairy tale where wolves get a fair shake,” said Wolves GM Tim Carrier. “I’m glad that Wally decided to share his stories with our young fans.”
Wally’s book was a hit with the fans, but not everyone was so delighted. The Igloos, for instance, weren’t pleased when they heard about the portrayal of the Big Bad Bear. “I thought that Petey and Wally had buried the hatchet years ago,” said Igloos C Jake Frost. “But if the wolf wants to get things started again, I’m sure that Petey is willing to go back to war. And we’ll all have his back.”
The Bluebacks were likewise unamused about the “Dirty Dog” portrayal, and expressed their displeasure. “This is gross character assassination toward Salty Sam,” said RW Vince Mango. “We all know that Sam is 100% pro-grandma, and he would never kidnap anyone or try to traumatize little girls. And most importantly, he would certainly never try to steal Wolves tickets.”
Informed of the Igloos’ and Bluebacks’ objections, Carrier was unapologetic. “Wally calls them like he sees them,” the GM said. “Like most authors, Wally’s stories are informed by his life experience.”