Throwing things in celebration, anger, and just because, has always been part of human nature, whether it is related to sports or not. In some cases, the throwing of things becomes a tradition for a specific team or even an entire sports league.
When it comes to traditions and odd things thrown on to a sports field, the fans of the National Hockey League (NHL) seem to have stepped up their game compared to other sports.
There have been hamburgers, a catfish, waffles, and even an enthusiastic fan’s bra thrown on to the ice. Although, only the most popular ones have stuck around and have been made into traditions by the fans.
The most well-known tradition in the NHL is when a player scores three goals within the same game, known as a “hat trick,” the fans celebrate by throwing their hats on to the ice.
In an article on the NHL website, it explains that the origins of this term started in the game Cricket. The origins of this tradition are a bit hazy as to how it began in the NHL because there are two different stories.
The one shared most prominently is when a Toronto businessman offered a hat to any players that scored three goals in a game in Toronto.
While this extends to every team in the NHL, fans of each team have set up their own personal traditions during games.
The Florida Panthers fans take to throwing plastic rats onto the ice after a goal is scored. The origin of this, according to The Sportster, was during the 1995-’96 season.
In the locker room before the season opener in Florida player, Scott Mellanby killed a rat by just hitting it across the floor. The Panthers won that game, and teammate Jon Vanbiesbrouck called the two goals scored a “rat trick.” The following game, a fan took it upon himself to start the tradition that still lives today, by throwing a single plastic rat onto the ice after the team scored a goal.
However, this tradition became troublesome during the playoffs as it was temporarily banned because it caused such a delay in the game. After each goal, all the little plastic rats had to be cleaned from the ice.
Today, the ban is no longer in place, but with a heavy emphasis that the rats are not to be thrown until the game is over.
Just as old as the tradition of throwing hats on to the ice, the Detroit Red Wings fans have taken to throwing octopuses.
According to an article by The Hockey Writers, this tradition started back in 1952 when the NHL only had six hockey teams. Since there was such a small number of teams, it took just eight wins in the league to win the Stanley Cup.
While the Red Wings were on a winning streak to claim the coveted Stanley Cup, store owners Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw an octopus on to the ice. The tradition seems to have caught on from there.
As some die-hard fans tend to do, they made their own take on the tradition for the team. The article continues by explaining that in 1995, while other fans were throwing normal smaller octopuses on to the ice, two fans took it upon themselves to throw a 38-pound octopus on to the ice.
However, they didn’t stop there. The following year, the two fans took to covering the ice with 50 pounds of octopus guts in dedication to their team.
Hockey fans seem to be in a league of their own when it comes to the creativity of throwing things on to the ice. They do this to show their passion and pride for the team they cheer on, and it seems the players grateful that appreciation.
What will be the next object that hockey fans make a tradition of throwing?