Over the weekend, SpongeBob SquarePants defeated his ol' buddy Patrick, 5-2, in a high-stakes hockey game.
...Wait, that can't be right.
Actually, what happened -- and was immortalized on social media, just as you might expect -- is that the ECHL's Indianapolis Fuel and Cincinnati Cyclones took to the ice for a Nickelodeon-themed night on Saturday, decked out in SpongeBob-themed attire.
The SpongeBob-wearing Fuel defeated the Patrick-wearing Cyclones, and Twitter rejoiced.
The ECHL, per Wikipedia, is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and one franchise in Canada. It is a tier below the American Hockey League. The League was founded in 1988 and has grown steadily since.
Themed nights like this one are not uncommon for regional sports teams as a way to draw in casual fans who might not otherwise shell out the money for a ticket. Such events are often locally-themed, but things like superhero nights and Star Wars nights have started to draw crowds, and it seems to be easier for smaller markets and lower-tier leagues to get the OK from corporate owners for such licenses than it would be for the NHL or NFL to attempt the same.
SpongeBob SquarePants is one of Nickelodeon's longest-running series. It debuted in 1999 and has spawned two feature films, theme park attractions, comic books, music, animated shorts, and more.
The property has even inspired a Broadway musical, and last fall, the cast of the Broadway adaptation occupied a full float during Macy's annual festivities. The show drew strong fan reactions, since it features a cast of human interpretations of the characters as opposed to fully costumed recreations of the originals.