PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Gritty is back!
Though he technically never left, the Philadelphia Flyers orange mascot is returning to his home - the Wells Fargo Center.
While no fans are expected inside the arena when the Flyers season starts next month, Gritty wanted in.
The ever-outspoken mascot started his own petition on change.org, pleading with the NHL to let him cheer on the team in person.
"Hockey is back! I couldn't help but notice that (NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman) left mascots out of his big announcement yesterday. @NHL you kept me out of the playoff bubble last season but I DEMAND admission to Flyers games this season. Hockey needs me, I need hockey, the world needs Gritty," the mascot tweeted Monday afternoon.
Thousands of fans signed on in support of the campaign.
There's also a hashtag; #GetGrittyIn.
"Without me, where is the joy? Where is the artistry? Where is the downright tomfoolery that delicately balances with the on-ice battles and displays of athletic prowess? One cannot simply exist without the other," Gritty's petition read.
Even player Kevin Hayes put his foot down.
"Big decision to make! If @GrittyNHL is not allowed in the building for games then I don't think I can play this year! #GetGrittyIn ," Hayes said.
The Flyers tweeted, "Do the right thing, NHL."
On Wednesday, Gritty announced some good news.
He released this statement, complete with G.R.I.T. letterhead and contact information of "Don't call or text:"
The following statement was released today by Gritty regarding a plea to the NHL to allow shenanigans and tomfoolery at hockey games this season. The NHL has thus agreed to grant Gritty arena access. Gritty, in response to questions about his future quarantine plans: "I'm back."
Last season, when mascots were not allowed at games, Gritty tried break into the NHL bubble - instead of landing in Canada, he ended up visiting Toronto, Ohio.