Linesman Steve Barton got the nasty task of picking up the octopus following a first period goal by Henrik Zetterberg at Madison Square Garden March 21, 2012. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Every hockey fan knows the feeling…the feeling of wanting to throw something. Whether the brunt of your extreme emotions is the television screen or the players on the ice, when the other team scores, or when your team scores, the knee-jerk reaction is to grab the closest object and fling it. From dead animals, to potentially dangerous glass bottles, here are the most memorable things thrown on the ice.
One example of why giveaway nights should be held with bated breath. During the 1972 home opener for the short-lived Philadelphia Blazers franchise in the WHA, fans were handed orange pucks before the game. Unfortunately, before puck drop the Zamboni broke through the ice, causing the game to be cancelled. Fans began tossing the pucks onto the surface, scaring away officials who were trying to calm things down.
An Alaska Aces (ECHL) tradition. Fans traditionally throw frozen fish (usually salmon) onto the ice after a goal.
8. Dead Gophers
An old University of North Dakota tradition. Fans would take frozen, dead gophers (how they got them in is beyond us) and toss them onto the ice after goals when UND played the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
On Jan. 30, 2000, New Jersey Devils coach Robbie Ftorek got so upset at a non-call that he picked up the team’s wooden bench and chucked in into the ice. He was suspended one game and fined $10,000.
6. Prosthetic Leg
The incident allegedly took place at a Corpus Christi IceRays (CHL) game in the 1990s. A fan sitting near the glass became so disgruntled with the refereeing that he took off his prosthetic leg and threw it on the ice. One does wonder, though, how did he get home?
5. Beer Bottles
Usually thrown after the visiting team scores, in overtime, or after a disputed penalty call. Jeff Carter experienced this while doing a post-game interview after the Flyers defeated the Capitals in overtime of Game 7 of their 2008 first round playoff series. Luckily for Carter, the bottle that whizzed by his head was plastic.
4. Stuffed Animals
This is more common in minor hockey. Fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals to the rink and throw them on the ice after the first goal. The animals are then collected and given to charity. It was taken to a new level in Portland on Nov. 24, 2007, when 6,343 fans threw a record 20,372 stuffed animals onto the ice after the opening goal of the game. The best part? The goal was disallowed.
A tradition that infested Southern Florida during the Panthers’ run to the 1996 Stanley Cup final. At the start of the season, winger Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the dressing room and then scored two goals that night using the same stick. Word got out about Mellanby’s “rat trick” and Florida fans littered the ice with plastic rats are big goals and throughout the playoffs.
The practise started in Detroit in 1952 as a symbol of the number of games needed to win the Stanley Cup in the pre-expansion era: one tentacle for every victory.
It began in the 1950s with the New York Rangers’ minor league affiliate in Guelph, Ont., which was nicknamed the Mad Hatters. The owner had a tradition of giving a hat to any player who scored three goals in a game. Sammy Taft, who owned a hat shop in Toronto, offered the same prize for any Maple Leaf who achieved the feat. Fans caught on and began throwing hats onto the ice after a player’s third goal of the game and the tradition has stuck to this day.
This Top 10 originally appeared in THN's Ultimate Book of Hockey Lists.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.