HELSINKI Ė The official mascot of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships is a hockey playing bird, HockeyBird. Get used to it.
Is it is a plane? No. Is it a bird? Yes. And a crowd pleaser, a team supporter, a tournament promoter, and a character that will be remembered in years to come.
The official tournament mascot is many things, and Hockey Bird, designed by Toni Kysenius at Rovio Entertaiment, the company behind the hit game Angry Birds, is all that.
"For us, getting the Hockey Bird was fantastic. Angry Birds is Finnish, known worldwide, and one of the hottest topics of conversation wherever you go," says Mika Sulin, general secretary of the Finnish tournament organization.
"For Rovio Entertainment, being a part of the hockey world championships is something new, and Hockey Bird is the right person to join the party. Heís the first angry bird who gets to break free from the Angry Birds game environment. His job is to bring bird energy to a big sports carnival and basically, be everywhere," says Toni Kysenius at Rovio.
Visual identity umbrella over two cities
The tournament organization also unveiled their visual identity, a star constellation based on the tournament slogan "Northern Stars of Ice Hockey". The visual identity has been crafted by Mozo, a Helsinki-based design agency.
"We wanted to create a visual identity that would bring together the two host cities, Helsinki and Stockholm, and give people a feel of a two-year event. A good design does that, people will remember it, and the organizations can make some savings on the production side," says Sulin.
In Finland, the constellation is blue, while in Sweden, there are shades of yellow as well, bringing the hosts together, but also making a distinction between the two cities.
"Itís important that, for example, the TV audience can identify the games as parts of one event, but also immediately know where things are taking place," adds Sulin.
In addition to designing the visual identity, Mozo will also compile a brand book for future event organizers. The brand book is a one-stop document that helps organizers put together a world-class event.
"Why re-invent the wheel? Itís great that we can help other organizers, in whatever field they may be. Finland hosts a lot of fantastic events every year, and itíd be an honor to be able to help others," says Sulin.
The Brand Book will also be given to the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Born: Yes, other details unknown
Position: Left defenceman (a scoutís evaluation)
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 108 kg
Favorite food: Fish sticks, waffles and strawberry jam
Favorite music: Hard rock
Motto: Puck sweet puck