The National Hockey League (NHL) is partnering with 30 comic book superheroes in the hopes of cultivating a relationship with the next generation of fans.
In a program called "The Guardian Project," 30 superheroes are partnered with the NHL's 30 teams. Each of the character's powers relates to the hockey team and home city he or she is meant to represent.
Each Guardian will have five powers, including one tied to his team. The Calgary Flames representative will have control over fire, for example, and the Philadelphia Flyer can go airborne. They are not being developed from existing mascots.
"We worked really closely with all 30 teams over the last 10 months to really get the look and feel and personality of their team and incorporate it into the physical superhero," says Adam Baratta of Guardian Media Entertainment (GME), the partnership set up by the NHL and comic superhero legend Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment to launch and operate the franchise.
The Guardian Project will include an online presence, mobile applications, publishing, gaming, in-arena, broadcast, merchandise, promotional and sponsorship activities. The superheroes will have a Twitter and Facebook presence of course, and, the NHL says it is also now the first professional sports league with a full-time, dedicated presence on Foursquare.