Doggos and Sports, A Winning Combination

The NHL has found a winning combination in terms of making the sport even better by incorporating service-doggos in training.

Photo Courtesy of Webster-Kirkwood Times

More and more teams have slowly started to follow a new sports trend by finding ways to incorporate dogs into games. One famous example is with Boise State’s football team, joined by Cowboy Kohl. The only knock on the Broncos is only a select area of the nation gets to view their games unless they’re in a ranked duel of sorts on national tv.

Cowboy Kohl has an important job on the Broncos sideline, retrieving the tee after every BSU kickoff. I remember watching one game on tv but there were so many punts or miscues, resulting in limited kickoff opportunities. That meant less airtime for Cowboy Kohl, who could’ve really added to an otherwise dull game.

Photo Courtesy of SB Nation

It’s one thing to employ doggos at the college level, but some teams have taken it even further by incorporating them on the professional stage. One might think the NFL could adopt something similar, or maybe they find a way to get a dog to snag a foul ball down the line. Nope, hockey is the primary sport it seems when it comes to including doggos.

Several articles have been written over the years about individual teams making the move. The most recent team to join the trend was the Tampa Bay Lightning, tweeting out an adorable golden retriever as their newest addition. His name, fittingly enough, is Bolt.

The Lightning’s PR Twitter page also tweeted out that Bolt will be trained as a service dog once his time career with the Lightning is complete. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @boltspup.

He joins some other “good boys” in the National Hockey League including Barclay, Flambo, Ranger, Rookie, and Radar.


Maybe the most known of the group, Barclay is part of the St. Louis Blues’ organization. He got some serious airtime and gained a lot more fans in the process when the Blues turned around their season, going from worst to near first. The Blues finished the season off by winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The Blues posted a video mid-December of Barclay joining them for practice, allowing the skaters and fans a break from their terrible record.

Photo Courtesy of ESPN


Yes, even Canada is getting in on the mix with Flambo being part of the Montreal Canadiens. According to the team, the name Flambo has significant ties to the organization. It signifies light on a trail, with the Canadiens being the light on a path to improve and hoist the Stanley Cup.

Flambo was brought on from Mira, which has a simple slogan reading “Dogs that change people’s lives.”

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His name essentially gives away who he’s associated with, the New York Rangers. He’s been around the longest in the NHL, joining as a pupper and has grown, along with his team. He’s slated to become a professional service dog for those with autism.

Ranger is hoping to see the Rangers make it to the playoffs before departing the team at the end of next season.

Photo Courtesy of Elite Sports NY


Another doggo that will see his NHL tenure end this season is Rookie, who’s been with the Ottawa Senators. He joined after working for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and is a seeing-eye dog. He’s also hoping to leave on a positive note and win over some more fans along the way.


Last but not least is Radar, the second doggo to make the playoffs this season. He’s part of the New York Islanders organization and is part of the “Islanders Puppy with a Purpose” program. Matt Martin and Thomas Hickey, currently still with the Islanders, helped pick him out.

The Islanders made the playoffs as the fourth-best team from the Eastern Conference. Radar will be joining the Guide Dog Foundation shortly after the 2019-20 NHL season wraps up.

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