October 24, 2010

A look at Peter Puck

A look at Peter Puck

Peter Puck is an animated talking hockey puck who appeared in several-minute-long interstitial segments that appeared during 1970s hockey broadcasts on NBC and Canada’s CBC.

Animated by Hanna-Barbera, the segments were meant to explain the basic rules of hockey. The shorts conveyed interesting information about the game’s history, equipment, etc., to viewers. Peter’s shorts made use of the standard library of Hanna-Barbera sound effects; the studio also used their usual 70s-era house style—think the way the humans looked on “Scooby-Doo.”

Peter hasn’t aired in the US since the 70s; I never even heard of him until I visited the Hockey Hall of Fame museum in Toronto in 2007. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ local cable TV channel rerun Peter’s old shorts, with outdated rules/references deleted.

A new series of Peter Puck shorts were made around 2009-2010. They’re animated in CGI, but still explain the basic rules, history, and people behind Canada’s favorite sport (and the US’, well, fourth-most-favorite sport). For a time, the new shorts aired during the pre-game show for CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada,” the CBC’s popular Saturday night hockey game telecast.

Peter also appears on some merchandise and promotions in Canada.

Classic and modern Peter Puck shorts

Here’s one of Peter Puck’s original shorts, explaining some hockey penalty rules. (Note the lack of face guards on the players, being made before those became mandatory.)

Also from YouTube, here’s one of the new CGI-animated shorts, explaining a few basic facts about the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin:

(Updated 3/15/18)

Tags: animationCBCHanna-BarberahockeyHockey Night In CanadaMediaNHLPeter Pucksports