Salmon Arm has many claims to fame.
One of them is being the hometown to a pugnacious, patriotic pixelated pugilist known as Bear Hugger.
Referred to as the “Champion of Canada,” Bear Hugger is one of the opponents players face off against in the ring in 2009’s Punch-Out!!! on the Nintendo Wii.
The animation that plays before the player fights Bear Hugger lists Salmon Arm as his hometown, alongside other vital stats like his towering 6’3” 440-lb bulk. The burly denim overall-clad brawler shouts, “Salmon Arm” or “Sockeye” when delivering a left hook.
The pre-fight animation shows Bear Hugger feasting on an enormous breakfast drenched in maple syrup before going to work as a lumberjack. He then encounters a grizzly bear who is shown teaching him how to box.
Along with Salmon references, Bear Hugger’s in-game dialogue is dripping with Canadiana — he can be heard calling his opponents a “hoser.”
The Punch-Out franchise, famous for its cartoony depiction of the sweet science, stretches all the way back to arcade machines in the 1980s. Earlier games listed Bear Hugger’s hometown as Saskatoon, Sask., but Vancouver-based Next-Level Games took over production for the 2009 title and Bear Hugger became a Salmon Arm resident.