The NHL already has its fair share of heroes. From today's Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin to Mario Lemiuex, Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Roy, and Maurice "The Rocket" Richard. The only difference, with the exception of a minor detour for Mr. Gretzky in 1991's "ProStars", is that none of them were superheroes.

And while Smiling Stan Lee doesn't want to turn today's players into costumed crime fighters, he's planning to use each of the thirty current NHL teams to inspire a new league of superheroes for comic and hockey fans to enjoy.

The Guardian Project is the name of Stan Lee's new venture with the NHL. There will be thirty guardians, and each of them will mirror some aspect of the thirty NHL teams. That means you could see a Namor-ish superhero representing the New York Islanders, or a Captain America-like hero representing the Washington Capitals. Of course, that's just speculation as each of the thirty guardians won't be unveiled until the NHL All Star game on January 30.

What does the NHL get out of this partnership with Stan Lee? According to Deadline it's not a bad deal.

"To be in business with Stan Lee and to be able to bring his latest superheroes to our fans is incredibly exciting to all of us at the NHL," explained Brian Jennings, EVP, Marketing for National Hockey League, L.P. "We are in constant pursuit of new ways to engage our fans and to introduce new fans to hockey, and the business of GME does exactly that." With an initial plan to reach tween boys, GME hopes to bring a new audience to the NHL, while engaging the existing, established hockey fan base through a compelling tale of good vs. evil. "

The Guardians will receive the now standard multimedia roll out that today's comic properties receive, and there is a special preview planned for those of you attending NYCC. On October 8 at 4:45 p.m. in room 1A08 at the Javits Center, a teaser of the new project will be shown.

You may now proceed to speculate on what your team's guardian will be. As an Islanders fan, I can only hope my guardian's superpower won't involve losing.

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