RPI’s Puckman Demoted

Posted by: Mike Machnik

It’s Halloween, and our colleagues over at Inside College Hockey give us this amusing look at some reasons that might explain why RPI is de-emphasizing its beloved “Puckman” mascot character.


Hopefully, Puckman isn’t headed the way of the Swarm, an oversized bee which was the RPI mascot in the 1980s and very entertaining.

With Lake Superior in town for the annual RPI Tournament one season, the Lakers brought their pelican mascot to do battle with the Swarm. I have no idea if the pelican had a name too. But during the tournament championship game, the two mascots went at it, each trying to rile up their team’s fans. The Swarm did its customary routine where it raises its arms to one section, which yells as loud as it can, then to another section, and back and forth to see which one is the loudest.

Meanwhile, the pelican sneaked up behind the Swarm, waited for the bee to turn around in surprise, and raised its arms right in the face of the RPI mascot, in perfect imitation. The crowd howled in laughter.

This led to the two chasing each other around the rink — if you’re trying to picture this, play is still going on throughout the whole thing, it’s not an intermission show. The dueling mascots disappeared underneath the stands, then the chase picked up again with the Swarm wearing the pelican head and the pelican topped off with the bee head.

Not only was the crowd laughing hysterically, the players on the ice were looking back into the stands to watch what was happening.

I realize it wasn’t a Puckman story, but the point is that things like this in college athletics, especially college hockey, are a big part of what makes it fun and entertaining. It’s too bad that so much of that has fallen by the wayside as the game has grown and expanded. Traditions like Puckman and the Swarm are part of what make the game great, and RPI is one of those schools where tradition is very revered by the students and alumni. Maybe it’s time for a “Save Puckman” movement, which would be a pretty appropriate name given how many of the mascot’s vulcanized relatives have been “saved” by RPI goalies over the years.

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to “RPI’s Puckman Demoted”

  1. ron Says:

    You would think with the dismay that was displayed when they tried to replace Puckman the first time (with the Redhawk) that they would have realized that they had struck gold.

  2. Chris Says:

    Lake Superior used to have a giant bird mascot named Shawker. I’m pretty sure that is who you are thinking of.

  3. Mike Machnik Says:

    Thanks Chris, that must be it. My apologies for not remembering.

    Ron, as I recall even that wasn’t the first time, with Buddy Powers returning Puckman to the jerseys in place of the script “RPI” that appeared in the late 1980s. And it was a big hit then.

    I admit I’m not a big fan of the constant uniform changes that some schools seem to undergo. And I still hope to see Boston College return to the sharp Eagle logo that used to adorn the front of their jerseys, and Northeastern to bring back the Huskie that it used to have.

  4. ron Says:

    I think Universities need to resist the changes that marketing companies tend to present to them, especially when it comes to sports teams. ECHL and AHL hockey is significantly different than college hockey. With the exception of a few franchises (Rochester immediately comes to mind) in the minors, tradition is thrown out the window, but in college, tradition is everything.

    I for one am looking forward to the RPI Red Raging Raccoons!