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NHL superheroes on the way

In Canada on October 8, 2010 at 12:57
Back to NHL superheroes on the way

NHL superheroes on the way

October 07, 2010

Mark Zwolinski


Maple Leafs super hero design as envisioned by the Star’s Brian Hughes.

Brian Hughes/Illustration by

Picture this: a superhero in Maple Leaf colours, banding together with do-gooders from 29 other NHL teams to fight the good fight against the bad guys.

If that sounds like a comic book/digital cartoon in the making, then you’re thinking right along with the NHL in its new partnership with legendary comic book character creator Stan Lee.

The league announced Thursday a partnership with Lee to build a stable of 30 NHL-themed superheroes that also targets the bull’s-eye of the NHL’s latest marketing drive — the so-called “tween boys” ages 9 to 16.

“It certainly goes for that target group, but you also hope for a halo effect. You don’t want to be exclusionary … the storyline will attract boys, but you want girls to enjoy it too,” said NHL marketing executive Brian Jennings.

Jennings said the superheroes live out typical good guy/bad guy comic book themes, but are not solely devoted to the hockey world.

The superheroes, while easily indentified through the inclusion of hockey icons in their makeup, will each have their own superpowers and represent their respective cities.

“What was core to the storyline was that they wanted to express each city, its landscapes … here in Toronto, one of the original six markets, and other markets, just the broad history the NHL has to offer,” Jennings said.

“Imagine 30 characters. There’s lots of material for storylines. There will be the usual superhero things, but at the end of the day they band together like a team, like an NHL team. That was important, but it isn’t just about hockey. It’s also about what a (9- to 16-year-old) might deal with in their lives.”

Superheroes Spider-Man and Iron Man came from the mind of Lee, one of the greatest superhero creators whose characters have breathed new life into the action-movie genre.

So what will the Leafs superhero look like?

That will be part of an unveiling at the NHL All-Star Game in February, but Jennings said each character will be different.

“They won’t all be on skates, they won’t all have hockey sticks,” Jennings said. “You will see each city represented and its team brand.”

An online game will be available Friday (, offering a sneak peek at the project.


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