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Maple Leafs to retire Carlton, introduce new mascot "FourKay" next season

In addition to updating uniforms, the Maple Leafs will also introduce a new mascot that will bring crisp and clear fun to all.

Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

In a surprise announcement this morning the Toronto Maple Leafs confirmed polar bear mascot Carlton will be retired. Carlton, named after Carlton Street, the location of the old Maple Leaf Gardens, will be replaced with a new mascot named 'FourKay'.

FourKay is an exciting and friendly 4KHD television screen mounted on a mans body. His favourite pastime is watching Maple Leafs hockey games on Sportsnet using Rogers' 4KHD digital cable.

Asked about the rationale for the change, MLSE PR representative April Sloof said "FourKay contemporizes our mascot portfolio, allowing us to create new cross-brand synergies that will deliver enhanced curation and integration of Rogers' entertainment and lifestyle products to our client touch-points."

Some Maple Leafs fans expressed concern and disappointment that the iconic and long time fan favourite mascot Carlton would no longer be a part of the team, but Sloof assures fans he will not be going away entirely.

"We respect fans love for him. Our plans are to personalize Carlton and make him more available to fans than ever."

Sloof explained that Carlton will become part of a premium mascot experience for season ticket holders. "For a reasonable $29.99 per-month add-on, our platinum season seat supporters will be able to have Carlton personally deliver their Dynamite rolls to their seats."

"It's yet another way we are are responding to the needs of our most loyal fans." she added.

FourKay is sure to be a hit with the kids. MLSE announced there will be a new 'FourKay Kidz Klub' for the youngest Maple Leafs fans, though "that name is... currently under review." Sloof added.  4KKK members will have the chance to win exclusive prizes, like 25% off 1 month of Rogers 4KHD cable, with a 3 year subscription commitment.

FourKay needed a face on his screen of course. MLSE performed a painstaking search to select the right one.

Sloof explained "It was important FourKay have a warm, inviting, and friendly face. Our first choice was the late Ted Rogers, but in focus groups we found children were scared of him."

Instead they opted for a face more familiar with Leafs fans. "We couldn't think of anyone that would bring more laughter to the fan base." Sloof said.

(artist's conception)