An cartoon hockey puck, created by Hanna-Barbera for NBC after they won the broadcast rights to National Hockey League games in the early 1970s. Peter's job was to introduce the sport and its rules to younger viewers. Both the cartoons and the games were a flop - since many affiliates in non-hockey regions chose to show John Wayne movies and Celebrity Bowling instead, Peter's target audience (and their parents) rarely, if ever, had a chance to see him.

A few years later, Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington would gain the "Peter Puck" nickname, but this is unrelated to the cartoon, I think.

"Love that hockey game!" - Peter Puck

An animated hockey puck created in 1973 in an attempt by NBC to explain hockey to Americans, Peter Puck appeared on the NBC NHL Game of the Week for its two seasons, where it was the most popular intermission segment. Peter lived on for 5 more years on the CBC's Hockey Night In Canada.

Hanna-Barbera Studios created and produced the series. The four-minute episodes were written by then-broadcaster Brian McFarlane. (McFarlane's father wrote Hardy Boys novels under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon!) Peter Puck's voice was performed by H-B voice actor Donny Schell1.

The episodes aired during the first intermission of HNIC, in the spot now occupied by Don Cherry's Coach's Corner which is curious since Don can be a bit of a cartoon character himself. (Donny Schell does not do Don's voice.)

Peter was a black puck with an orange center, cartoon eyes and eyebrows. He has red hockey gloves and skates, despite having no visible arms or legs to attach them to his puck body.

According to the Hockey Hall of Fame web site2, Montreal Canadiens' player Dave Gardner once composed a notional letter to Peter on a team flight. "Dear Peter," Gardner mused out loud, "how can I score goals while sitting on the bench?" Gardner was traded to the St. Louis Blues very shortly thereafter for a first-round draft pick. (That didn't help Dave.)

McFarlane bought the rights to Peter Puck in 19793 after the series' demise. He continued to promote and use the character, touring shopping malls with a Peter Puck costume character. McFarlane even went so far as to create a costumed female 'companion', Penny Puck4, to promote women's hockey. (Penny was clearly Peter in drag, and as alternate lifestyles are hush-hush in hockey circles, the Penny incident isn't openly discussed.)

In 2007, plans were announced to "bring back" Peter Puck through a new line of retro/nostalgia merchandise, with an 'updated' look promised for the 2008/2009 hockey season. Speculation is that Peter will switch to the new composite laminate stick to make up for his notoriously weak slap shot.

  1. Hanna Barbera at one time had claimed that Micky Dolenz of The Monkees was the voice actor, but has since corrected this. Micky worked on other H-B cartoons at the time, but apparently not on Peter Puck. Peter sure sounds a lot like Micky, though, and it's way more fun to imagine that this was true.

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