Guardians of the Hockey World

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

The uninspired partnership between the NHL and Stan Lee


Have you ever heard of the time Stan Lee, legendary creator of Marvel comics, created superheroes for every NHL team? NEITHER DID WE until an episode of the Steve Dangle Podcast, where we listeners were urged to look up this short-lived partnership.


And boy was it… interesting. For starters, all the heroes are named after their team name. Suuuuper creative Stan. And their short blurbs are often written poorly or are too vague, leaving us to guess as to what their power was, if any?


Nevertheless, to build suspense, we will be going in order from best to worst, so if you want to get a quick laugh right now, scroll to the bottom.


The GOTI staff ranked the heroes in four categories: Look, Ability, Relation to Team, and Overall Creativity. We then compiled all of our individually decided scores, added them all up and voila, a total score out of 120 (10 points per category, therefore 40 points per writer). In the event of a tie, whichever team had the higher score in Relation to Team would triumph.


At the end, we will also hand out awards for the best and worst team in each category!


Without further ado…


1. The Flame

Scores - Look 25/30 ; Ability 25/30 ; Relation to Team 28/30 ; Creativity 23/30 ; Total 101/120

This is by far the best superhero of all the 30 teams. The design is absolutely phenomenal, with wings of fire

protruding from his back, and a solid beam of flame shooting out of its eye(s?) to destroy an asteroid. Personally, fire abilities have always been super cool for me, so this obviously gets my approval. One player on the Flames that really embodies the destruction that this superhero is capable of is Matthew Tkachuk, a feisty player that lets the hatred that others have for him burn themselves down (I.E. Zach Kassian). Overall, this is a great superhero design that fits the team well with excellent powers - really well done Mr. Lee. (#RIPStanLee). -Steve


2. The King

Scores - Look 25/30 ; Ability 20/30 ; Relation to Team 24/30 ; Creativity 22/30 ; Total 91/120

I love what's going on here. The purple, black, and silver are in all the right places, and the throwback logo on the shield hits the turn-of-the-century nostalgia just right. This Roman-

esque design is coupled with realistic and impressive powers. The earthquakes are both devastating and a nod to their home state, and the force field created by the shield reminds us of the stifling defence that propelled the Kings to two Cups in three years. A hero worthy of a silver medal, for sure. -Mac





3. The Star

Scores - Look 18/30 ; Ability 26/30 ; Relation to Team 19/30 ; Creativity 2

5/30 ; Total 88/120

This was one of my favourite designs - the colour scheme matches the team uniform and the helmet and electric cables reminds me of something that you

would see from an Iron Man villain. While it has a solid design, the not-so-good part is that his powers really have nothing to do with the team. For the Relation to the Team category, we not only rated it off looks, but also ability. The Star travels on solar winds and can manipulate magnetic fields… not very effective from a superhero standpoint. Thankfully he looked cool because otherwise, he would've been ranked much lower. -Paul


4. The Hurricane

Scores - Look 21/30 ; Ability 23/30 ; Relation to Team 24/30 ; Creativity 16/30 ; Total 84/120

So I get to write back to back here and honestly, The Hurricane is rather similar to The Star. Again, it looks pretty cool, I really dig the mask and colour scheme, plus the red hair blowing in the wind is a nice touch. The difference between The Hurricane and The Star though is that this hero's ability is directly related to the team as he can control weather patterns and has a “wild” personality. Not exactly the most creative hero, but it is directly related to the Carolina Hurricanes. He looks good and has some decent powers. -Paul


5. The Bruin

Scores - Look 19/30 ; Ability 22/30 ; Relation to Team 24/30 ; Creativity 18/30 ; Total 83/120

A giant, ferocious, grizzly bear. Do I really need to say more? I mean yes, but you get the gist. The Boston Bruisers… sorry, Bruins*, have long been synonymous in hockey circles with the biggest, meanest, and toughest SOBs around. While not overly creative, the big bad bear looks phenomenal with explosions in the background and claws swiping right at you. His ability feels a bit out of place, being that of super intelligence and a roar that can petrify, but you have to give it to Stan Lee for truly capturing the essence of the Boston Bruins with this superhero (villain?). -Steve


6. The Blue Jacket

Scores - Look 16/30 ; Ability 25/30 ; Relation to Team 22/30 ; Creativity 20/30 ; Total 83/120

A robot made of guns. That's a pretty good ability. Columbus’ representative took a slight hit on the look aspect, largely because a collage of weapons isn’t all that visibly appealing. I

thought the relation to the team was somewhat simple, albeit admirable by identifying the hero as a union soldier (as oppose tot he other guys). I also enjoyed thinking that this was similar to what John Tortorella looks like when he flies off the handle, from the fast moving fists to the rage-red eyes. My main question is, in all that carnage, how does he keep his right boot so shiny? -Mac




7. The Penguin

Scores - Look 18/30 ; Ability 22/30 ; Relation to Team 23/30 ; Creativity 14/30 ; Total 77/120

This hero got some mixed reviews. I personally thought it was one of the better heroes.

Steve agreed (albeit he was a little more generous than I was), but Mac, on the other hand, was not a fan. He told us that this was just a rip off of Frozone from the Incredibles. The similarities are there, but a hero who can travel on ice sheets and project ice missiles from his hands has been around a while (aka one of Stan Lee’s first ever heroes, Iceman from the X-Men). With that being said, it's another solid looking hero, although the design does remind me of another famous X-Men member… but the colour scheme works really well and his powers do somewhat mimic that of a penguin. -Paul


8. The Capital

Scores - Look 19/30 ; Ability 20/30 ; Relation to Team 19/30 ; Creativity 17/30 ; Total 75/120

A majestic, brightly-coloured bird that perfectly represents the Washington Capitals logo. An ability like sonic scream that shows just how opposing fans and goalies who have to face the inevitable, but still unbeatable, shot of Alexander Ovechkin feel. I felt that the relationship to the team on this is a bit low considering it is literally their logo, but overall this is a fairly good place for the superhero as it, to put it simply, is good but not great. -Steve


9. The Lightning

Scores - Look 19/30 ; Ability 20/30 ; Relation to Team 24/30 ; Creativity 11/30 ; Total 74/120

The Lighting is like Tampa Bay, in that they are both fast and dangerous. While the

concept of lightning to describe the Tampa Bay Lightning is not creative at all, (I imagine it’s

hard to come up with 30 superheros on a deadline that have to fit a specific theme) it really does fit this team to a tee, which explains the high contrast between the creativity and relation to team. The look of this superhero is pretty average - although, the lightning mohawk is quite cool. But other than that, it's not anything special really. Again, like the Capital, this hero is good, but not great. -Steve


10. The Avalanche

Scores - Look 20/30 ; Ability 19/30 ; Relation to Team 20/30 ; Creativity 15/30 ; Total 74/120

I was not the biggest fan of Colorado's rep. It is alright, which I mean, based on how bad most of these are, I can see why it solidified the final spot in the top 10. To me, his appearance is just a blatant ripoff of the Batman villain Mr. Freeze (in case you couldn't tell already, I am a huge comic book nerd), but his powers and relation to the team does redeem itself. Considering that he can control the elements of rock and ice lends itself directly to the fact that this hero was made for a team in the Rockies. I would have liked to have seen some of these powers be less about controlling elements, but these heroes were made for a hockey league... it isn't that serious. -Paul


11. The Shark

Scores - Look 17/30 ; Ability 19/30 ; Relation to Team 22/30 ; Creativity 13/30 ; Total 71/120

Well this one is rather simple, it is a man-shark riding a surfboard who can communicate with other sharks to help him in battle. Pretty self explanatory here, not all that creative but did

Stan Lee have to be? If he had gone a different direction, it would have been a lost opportunity. The Shark’s colour scheme works extremely well with the suit especially since he is a hero of the sea. Honestly, his powers are pretty cool too, but I mean what happens when he has to fight on land? Is he just a hero of the sea? We may never find out, which is okay too. -Paul




12. The Oiler

Scores - Look 15/30 ; Ability 15/30 ; Relation to Team 22/30 ; Creativity 16/30 ; Total 68/120

The Oiler is a hero that takes both a part of the area that it’s from, as well as the team that it is. Their superhero is a big brute that is spilling oil (someone call Greenpeace). To be honest, it looks like Juggernaut from the X-Men comics with a hose of oil. But this is actually why I think it fits the team pretty well, because just like the Juggernaut, Edmonton is one dimensional. In that one dimension though, they are unmatched. I’m talking of course about offense. Where superstars like Connor McJes… McDavid and Leon Draisitl regularly torch opposing defences to the tune of first and second in league scoring. Other than that. it’s pretty lackluster and middling. -Steve


13. The Predator

Scores - Look 15/30 ; Ability 18/30 ; Relation to Team 15/30 ; Creativity 19/30 ; Total 67/120

A sabrecat that spits radioactive plasma. That is essentially what this superhero is. Now, when I first saw it I really liked the look of it - a cat slicing it’s way through the jungle. And then I saw it’s face and it just lost me. It just looks so out of place with the rest of the

picture. Enough about that though, its abilities suggest that this team should be an unstoppable offensive force, but that just isn’t how this team plays. Nashville primarily relies on its defense and goaltending to support a medicore offense up front. There seems to be a significant disconnect between this hero and the team that it is representing, and that is something that Nashville should probably try to rectify (if it mattered). -Steve



14. The Senator

Scores - Look 22/30 ; Ability 14/30 ; Relation to Team 13/30 ; Creativity 17/30 ; Total 66/120

This is a mediocre hero. I genuinely liked the look of the Senator, it was battle-ready and majestic (and let’s be real, I’m a bit of a geek for Ancient Rome), but where this hero lost me was on relation to team. Let’s start with the description: “Half man, Half God, All superhero”. A cliche and weird but ok, whats next? “The Heart of a Gladiator, and the soul of an inspirational leader”...

What?

I don’t think anyone is looking at the Sens and saying “Wow they sure have heart and leadership”. This is the team whose leaders (albeit, who have all been traded) were recently caught on camera in an Uber making fun of the coach and his assistants? I know a few years have passed, but that's absolutely ridiculous.

0/10 in relation to the team for me.

-Steve


15. The Duck

Scores - Look 17/30 ; Ability 9/30 ; Relation to Team 25/30 ; Creativity 14/30 ; Total 65/120

I can’t believe The Duck only got 17/30 in the Looks department. I genuinely like the look of this superhero, so much so that it was actually in my top three. But I digress. Now for creativity, this is basically Duck Batman of the ocean. On the other hand, it is a duck in a tactical wetsuit on a surfboard with a harpoon in it’s hand. I’m not sure what else to really say besides... that's pretty cool. This hero emphasizes the region of the team - surfers and beach-goers with money. Too presumptuous? Probably, but all the players on the team are rich and beach-goers so I'm sticking to it. -Steve


16. The Red Wing

Scores - Look 13/30 ; Ability 15/30 ; Relation to Team 19/30 ; Creativity 18/30 ; Total 65/120

The Red Wing is confused as to whether it’s a man-car or a man-plane. The relation to the team was a little too much of a lay-up to gain many points, but let’s stop beating around the bush and get to the point. This guy has the power of an entire F-1 RACE?? And an F-14 to boot? That’s… creative I suppose? I wonder what he does with all that power, but it's just creative enough to be smack dab in the middle of the pack. -Mac



17. The Canuck

Scores - Look 16/30 ; Ability 13/30 ; Relation to Team 19/30 ; Creativity 17/30 ; Total 65/120

When I read the name The Canuck, I automatically think of Captain Canuck of Marvel’s Guardian, a true Canadian hero with the red and white suit, and the whole nine yards. But, this is for the Vancouver Canucks, who have a whale as their logo, so Stan Lee had to work with what he had. Instead, we got a dude in a blue suit and cape wearing a mask with a fin on his head. Abilities lend themselves to the city of Vancouver, which I can see why, if Lee was to create them based on a whale, that could have gone horribly wrong. Other than that, there isn't really much to this hero. -Paul


18. The Panther

Scores - Look 24/30 ; Ability 18/30 ; Relation to Team 16/30 ; Creativity 6/30 ; Total 64/120

Well, I think this one was easily the coolest looking, but also the least creative. It is the Black Panther, Stan Lee ripped himself off. However, it makes total sense, why not use one of your

most beloved characters to represent a team literally named the Panthers? I am not going to get into this one too much, my favourite looks wise by far, but that is about all it has going for it. -Paul


19. The Devil

Scores - Look 14/30 ; Ability 17/30 ; Relation to Team 17/30 ; Creativity 15/30 ; Total 63/120

Hellboy’s ugly step brother has arrived to rule... the hell in New Jersey? I hadn’t realized that each US State has their own respective hell. The infrared vision is useful, and

flaming breath is more dragon than devil. Manipulation was a nice touch, given he is The Devil, but how does it relate to either the team or the city? Only thing I can think of is the era when the Devils magically put fans to sleep with their gameplay as kinda similar to manipulation, but not really? That's the best I can do. -Mac


20. The Blue

Scores - Look 19/30 ; Ability 16/30 ; Relation to Team 12/30 ; Creativity 16/30 ; Total 63/120

This may be a hot take, but I actually really like this hero. As we were deciding who would write the blurbs on each hero, Mac gave me the option to defend this hero, or let him tear

it to pieces. So since we are

heading towards some of the uhh… not-so-good ones, I figured I would defend The Blue to bring some positivity to this half of the article. Although it really has nothing to do with the St. Louis Blues (outside of the colours maybe and the fact he is a master musician which seems like a throw in), this looks more like an anti-hero, very similar in design and abilities to Nightcrawler from X-Men. The fact that he can control the element of sound for mind control is freaking awesome. Not sure how it works, but that doesn't matter. And he can teleport, and that is always a sick power. -Paul


21. The Flyer

Scores - Look 15/30 ; Ability 23/30 ; Relation to Team 11/30 ; Creativity 14/30 ; Total 63/120

Why isn’t he a bully? How didn’t they get Broadstreet Bully? C’MON STAN, IT'S NOT BROADSTREET WARRIOR. Dressed as the rejected member from KISS, the blurb neither explains the wings nor bicep-feathers. Also,

why does he need wings painted on his forehead?? In case they don’t see his real wings? The telekinesis and mind control is definitely a good super power (albeit not related to Philadelphia AT ALL)... BUT WHY DID THEY INCLUDE HIS GRANITE CHIN? HE HAS WINGS LETS TALK ABOUT THAT, NOT THE CHIN. I personally found this one to be among the worse (3rd worst to be exact), but The Flyer was buoyed by his superpower. -Mac


22. The Ranger

Scores - Look 17/30 ; Ability 15/30 ; Relation to Team 15/30 ; Creativity 14/30 ; Total 61/120

This was one of the drafts for Captain America but got rejected early on. So he's with the NYPD, and he rides a motorcycle... but believes it's a horse. His superpower is being innovative… cool? I can be innovative too. Sounds kind of useless compared to, I don’t know, riding solar winds. The Ranger was put together in 20 minutes maximum, and it shows. -Mac


23. The Thrasher

Scores - Look 13/30 ; Ability 21/30 ; Relation to Team 7/30 ; Creativity 19/30 ; Total 60/120

Ah, now here is a throwback. The Atlanta Thrashers, I miss those baby blue jerseys they used

to wear. This hero on the other hand, doesn't do the team’s style any justice. He is a good ole' southern man who is super fast, because I guess a thrasher is fast when thrashing? I mean, this is as mediocre as it gets. It has almost no relation to the team, it doesn't even look all that great, and no real super abilities. Kind of lame if you ask me. -Paul


24. The Wild

Scores - Look 11/30 ; Ability 15/30 ; Relation to Team 17/30 ; Creativity 16/30 ; Total 59/120

The first superhero that has a failing grade. I gave him a zero for looks. He is wildly ugly (see what I did there), is part robot I think, and is wearing the most hilarious sunglasses. I got cramps laughing at those sunglasses. Why did he even bother wearing a costume? I’m sure he destroys it every time, and that must put a strain on the NHL Guardian seamstress. He can shoot space beams or something out of his hands, and to be honest that is kind of cool. I don’t see much relation to the team besides him destroying a forest, but there is some creativity in coming up with something so aesthetically unpleasant. -Mac


25. The Coyote

Scores - Look 13/30 ; Ability 14/30 ; Relation to Team 14/30 ; Creativity 16/30 ; Total 57/120

Wolverine with a cape and darts. Hugh Jackman would be disappointed. It is very cool to control sand, and I imagine that dinosaur-looking thing in the back is the fruition of this power. But relative to some of the other super abilities we’ve seen on this list… not all that powerful. They also seldom used the Phoenix (now Arizona) colours, mostly just appearing on the chest, eyes, and shoes. This one just felt uninspired (they all feel that way). -Mac


26. The Islander

Scores - Look 11/30 ; Ability 13/30 ; Relation to Team 16/30 ; Creativity 15/30 ; Total 55/120

The only way I can properly describe this hero, and trust me you’ll be as confused as I was, is a football player running at you with an anchor. You got that picture in your mind? Good

because that is literally what this is. I’m not sure what Stan Lee was thinking with this creation, but it exists, and that's all we can say about that. The other thing that I really want to dive in on (*wink wink*) is its ability. Now, you’re probably thinking, how can this get any worse? Well… it controls ocean currents. Which, don’t get me wrong, in the wrong hands could be terrifying, but it’s just not a great power for a superhero. It also has no relation to the team besides the logo. -Steve


27. The Blackhawk

Scores - Look 9/30 ; Ability 17/30 ; Relation to Team 13/30 ; Creativity 11/30 ; Total 50/120

This hero is ranked exactly where it should be - it sucks. He can control the wind? Ok, cool… not even the weather? Just wind?He's basically a suited up leaf blower. His suit isn't even cool! At least if he looked good it could make up for his atrocious powers, but this looks like something I would have drawn in elementary school. Another thing, are those helicopter wings on his back? I get that could be a nod to the US army but like how do propellers work horizontally? There is absolutely nothing to like here, except for maybe the relation to the city and team name, that is all it has going for it and even then it sucks. -Paul


28. The Canadien

Scores - Look 18/30 ; Ability 12/30 ; Relation to Team 8/30 ; Creativity 11/30 ; Total 49/120

Fire up the ole’ superhero generator. The Canadien is so painfully generic and mediocre, which is so contrary to the intoxicating vibrancy of Montreal. For the relation to the team, they said he protects Quebec and that’s all (please hold while fans of the Norquides lose their minds)...

Alright. The ability sucks. By magnification, Stan Lee means that this hero can make others stronger. He is unable to win battles on his own, looks like a rejected villain to the Power Rangers, and doesn't at all capture his hometown or hockey team (except for the Habs’ mediocrity I suppose). -Mac


29. The Sabre

Scores - Look 7/30 ; Ability 14/30 ; Relation to Team 5/30 ; Creativity 13/30 ; Total 39/120

I'm going to make this picture big so we can examine it in all its nonsensical, poorly deigned glory.


THE HUMAN HYDROELECTRIC PLANT. Personally, I had this one ranked the lowest. I scored them a one for looks, two for ability, zero for relation to team, and one for creativity. IT MAKES NO SENSE. To call anyone a human hydroelectric plant is surely an insult. What were they thinking? Okay we will do this methodically.


Look: Awful. The suit is fine, but why does he have to carry water tanks on his back??? Water runs everywhere he doesn’t need that reserve. Also it appears that his flesh is… water.. And I think that stupid.


Ability: You’re a fire hydrant. Steam won’t do anything to a villain that you had to call a superhero to fight, that water sword is useless, and throwing ice could work, but The Penguin already does that.


Relation to Team: There is no hydroelectric plant in Buffalo (at least none according to a google search). They couldn’t make the hero have any relation to the city to team name (unless they were going for water buffalo)? And, instead of that ridiculous water sword in his hand, they could have at least featured that awesome Sabre from the early 2000s alternate logo.


Creativity: It was a zero, but there has to be an iota of free thinking to create something so misguided, convoluted, and pointless, so one I guess. -Mac


30. The Maple Leaf

Scores - Look 6/30 ; Ability 9/30 ; Relation to Team 11/30 ; Creativity 10/30 ; Total 36/120

Let me start of by saying that I am a massive Leafs fan. With that said... What. The. Actual. Hell. Is. This. For a lack of a better word…. No wait, that's the right word - it's a tree. That’s it. A sentient tree. Now, this most likely comes from the name of the team, Toronto Maple Leafs but really? The best we could do is a tree to represent this iconic franchise? Thinking deeper on this, maybe Stan Lee was going after the play of the team! Trees are sturdy, maybe he was saying the leafs were defensively soun……. Yeah I can’t even finish a sentence that suggests that the Leafs play any defence. I just…. Don’t know what to say. -Steve


Awards

Best Look: The Flame & The King

Best Ability: The Star

Best Team Relation: The Flame Best Creativity: The Star





Worst Look: The Maple Leaf

Worst Ability: The Duck & The Maple Leaf

Worst Team Relation: The Sabre

Worst Creativity: The Panther






Photos courtesy of gunaxin and lowdownblog

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