The NHL’s most intense tradition is throwing random stuff onto the ice.
The Detroit Red Wing fans have been throwing an octopus on the ice since the 1950s. It’s believed the tradition started for 2 possible reasons: that it’s an offering for the octopi fisherman for harvest season, or an 8-tentacle salute to the 8 wins once needed to win the Stanley Cup.
Nashville Predators fans throw catfish on the ice. The tradition has been around since 2003 and its inspiration came from the Red Wings’ octopus stunt. Midwesterners who flocked to Nashville were inspired to create their own fish NHL tradition when the franchise was born there in 1998.
In Florida, Panthers fans have been throwing fake rats on the ice since their 1995-1996 season. It all started when Scott Mellanby killed a live rat in the locker room before scoring 2 goals in a game. After that, the toy rats started flying.
However, in 1996, the NHL decided to change its rules to penalize teams when their fans toss things on the ice. In 2016, the Panthers were penalized twice for the fake rats, but still ended up winning their game.
Despite the league’s efforts, we don’t see these wacky traditions dying out anytime soon.