By Megan McCluskey
December 19, 2018

The moment that Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty was introduced to the world, he seemed destined to become a meme. When the NHL team unveiled their new official mascot back in September, his unblinking googly eyes and burnt orange mane quickly captured the public’s attention.

“He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know it, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time,” Gritty’s backstory on the Flyers’ website reads. “He has some oddities that are both humorous and strange. A number of times he’s been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years.”

But it wasn’t long before Gritty had gone from being considered what one Twitter user described as “an absolute dream haunter” to somewhat of a national hero.

Here’s a look back at the most glorious times that Gritty won the hearts of fans across the country in 2018.

When his furry orange mug was revealed to the public and people were terrified

When he slipped on the ice during his first game

When he turned a t-shirt gun on promoters

When he came in like a “Wrecking Ball”

When he destroyed the penalty box

When he appeared to receive write-in votes in the midterm elections

When he threw a little kid in the penalty box

When he nominated himself for TIME’s Person of the Year

And last but not least, when he dressed up as Gritty Claus

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.

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