Canadiens take in Youppi!, abandoned by Expos
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Expos may be gone but Youppi! has returned -- this time as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
Youppi! will become the first mascot in professional sports history to move from one league to another when he makes his debut for the Canadiens in October 2005.
"It is with great pleasure that we can now count Youppi! as an official member of our organization," Canadiens president Pierre Boivin said. "Youppi! has touched the lives of countless fans of all ages with both his in-game enthusiasm and with his generosity throughout the Montreal community."
The beloved orange-furred creature, a staple at Olympic Stadium from 1979-2004 while with the Expos, found himself without a home when the franchise relocated to Washington.
"When it became apparent we had the opportunity to preserve a small element of the Montreal Expos legacy by retaining the services of Youppi!, there was no hesitation on our part to do so," Canadiens vice president of marketing and sales Ray Lalonde said. "Youppi!, who will become the first official mascot in Canadiens history, will now get the opportunity to be introduced to future generations of sports fans."
Youppi!, who took part in more than 4,000 public outings during his 26-year tenure with the Expos, will make his first appearance in a Canadiens uniform at the team's Jamboree on Sunday.