“I’m back,” said Gritty in a direct callback to Michael Jordan’s 1995 fax press release announcing his return to the Chicago Bulls after a brief baseball-induced retirement.

But was Jordan’s press release written in the Comic Sans font? No it wasn’t.

On Sunday, the NHL announced that it would return with a 56-game season starting January 13th. The games are played almost exclusively in home stadiums, rather than the Canadian bubbles used to complete last season (due to Canadian pandemic regulations, teams in that country may be forced to play home games in US stadiums) . The next day, Gritty wrote a passionate plea to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, demanding – really demanding – that he be allowed to enter the Flyers’ home stadium.

“Hockey needs me, I need hockey, the world needs gritty,” he wrote, noting that he tried not to break through the NHL bubble in Canada last season but only made it to Ohio.

It was a pretty compelling argument. There was a table:

Gritty even started a Change.org petition. Almost 12,000 have signed it. Real Winter Flyer Kevin Hayes tweeted his support and threatened to end the season if Gritty’s brand of googly-eyed capering wasn’t allowed back into the stadium and into our lives.

There’s no word yet on how Gritty will deal with the fanless experience. All pandemic protocols appear to be followed: