It never hurts to have support from high places.
A day after Waskasoo, the deer mascot of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, was featured being held by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, the stuffie has become a top seller.
Sales of foot-high versions Waskasoo spiked at the opening ceremonies on Friday night — especially among “aunts and grandmas” with small nieces or grandsons to buy for, said Barb Hanson, merchandise and ticketing lead at several Games venues.
“They’ve been very popular… I think they’re pretty fun and cuddly and they represent Red Deer very well.”
Waskasoo — who is freckled with 13 spots to represent Canada’s 13 provinces and territories — received an inadvertent plug from Notley when she held him up in an Advocate photo last week to show her support for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“Where can I get the deer?” was among the first comments posted under the photo on the Advocate’s Facebook page.
Hanson, who believes Notley “absolutely” helped raise Waskasoo’s profile, noted the “adorable” stuffie is available in slightly different guises at Games merchandise outlets at various venues. The $25 toy can be purchased wearing gloves, a hockey jersey or bearing a torch, among other things.
The image of Waskasoo was designed by Lacombe student Mackenzie Van Damme of Lacombe. It’s also featured on various stickers, magnets and booklets.
Hanson said other Games products that are proving popular are the white and black flannel shirts, zip jackets for men and women, flags and pins.
Pin trading is happening in two designated spots — at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and at Celebration Plaza downtown.