Photo of the ice at Bridgestone Arena during a Nashville Predators home game. 

Image Credit: Stephen Yeargin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you're an avid NHL fan, you're likely already familiar with the octopus toss at Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings. That particular tradition began back in the 1950's during a Detroit Red Wings playoff run. The Nashville Predators fans decided to mimic the octopus tradition during a game between the Red Wings and the Predators in October of 2002 by throwing a catfish onto the ice at Bridgestone Arena. 

What is the significance of a catfish? Catfish are generally seen as a popular southern cuisine and can be found in many restaurants throughout Nashville. Catfish can also be found in the Cumberland River which runs through downtown Nashville. The catfish toss became so popular that animal activist group PETA tried to intervene and asked Nashville Predators fans to stop throwing catfish, even though the catfish were dead. 

The catfish toss gained even more recognition throughout the hockey world in 2016 when four Nashville Predators season ticket holders documented how they sneak the catfish into Bridgestone Arena. The catfish were thrown onto the ice during the national anthem before a Predators home game vs. the Anaheim Ducks. Just a heads up for NHL fans visiting Nashville in the future, "Uncle Bud's of Donelson" and "Cock of the Walk" are the best catfish joints in the entire city. 

Throwing objects onto the ice is not a new tradition in the National Hockey League. There have also been instances where fans of the Vancouver Canucks have thrown salmon onto the ice at Rogers Arena. The Florida Panthers fans also have a similar tradition where they throw plastic rats onto the ice at the BB&T Center. That tradition began back in 1996 when Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the locker room with his hockey stick. Afterward, Mellanby went out and scored two goals during the game. The tradition became known as "The Rat Trick" and is still practiced to this day. The tradition became so popular that the NHL announced that it would allow the referees to penalize the team if their home base disrupts the game. 




Related Articles