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Before Bernie, there was Howler: The story behind the Colorado Avalanche's original mascot

Before Bernie entertained fans at Avs games, there was an abominable snowman named Howler.

DENVER — Before Bernie entertained fans at Colorado Avalanche games, there was Howler. 

Standing more than 7 feet tall, "Colorado's friendliest bigfoot" burst onto the scene when the Avs came to Denver from Quebec City in 1995.  

He's the reason many of those classic Avalanche Jerseys you see have the footprint on them.

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 03: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche skates during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on February 3, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

But Howler just kind of disappeared in 2001, and the Avs were without a mascot until Bernie arrived in 2009.

Details are scarce about what happened before Howler's exit -- only an Associated Press story detailing a March 1999 incident at McNichols Arena.

What we know is that Howler and a fan named Linda got into a scuffle.

Linda Van Hook told 9NEWS she was wearing her then-boyfriend's Blackhawks jersey when she went outside for a smoke break between periods. 

Van Hook said Howler was going around bonking fans on the head with rolled up posters, and he bonked her. 

She said she pushed him, he pushed back, and before long the pair were in a scuffle.

Van Hook said security broke up the fight and put them in separate rooms while police took statements.

She told 9NEWS Howler kicked her in the stomach during the scuffle, and she went to the hospital to get checked out. 

The trail goes quiet about Howler after that.

 At the time, a spokesman for the then-owner of the team told the AP, "My understanding is that there was (an incident)."

That's about it. A lot of fans say he seemed to just disappear.

Van Hook, who now lives in Florida, told 9NEWS, "I guess I was the end of Howler."

Former 'Howler' wants the old Avs' mascot to return

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