Ryan Ellis (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
After a catfish was thrown on the ice following a Ryan Ellis goal, the Nashville Predators received a letter from PETA asking the team to stop the post-goal fan celebration. PETA even offered to supply the Predators with an alternative.
After a post-goal thrown catfish celebration on Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators have been asked by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals to stop the practice.
The thrown catfish, a long-standing tradition of sorts in Nashville, came after Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis blasted home a point shot to tie the game at two apiece. You can watch the goal and the subsequent celebration here:
There's a bit of history to the toss, actually. Originally catfish were thrown to compete with Detroit’s octopus throwing tradition. The original tossing of the catfish dates back to an Oct. 30, 2003 contest with the Red Wings in which the Predators won 5-3. Just two weeks later, during a Nov. 13, 2003 game against the Calgary Flames, there were several catfish thrown onto the ice after Nashville’s first goal. While it doesn't happen on a regular basis, it is somewhat of a signature after big goals or when a fan feels brave enough to try to get the fish into the building.
The letter from PETA was addressed to Thomas Cigarran, incorrectly spelled Cigarron in the letter, and GM David Poile. Included in the letter is an offer to provide the team with 1,000 plastic fish that could be used in place of the dead catfish.
“Whether you want to think about it or not, fish are sentient beings, capable of feeling fear and pain,” the letter states. “It's no more acceptable to harm them than it is to harm any other living beings. Please, won't you prohibit fans from engaging in such insensitive acts?”
The thing is, though, the act is prohibited to begin with. The catfish are smuggled in, much like the octopi in Detroit, by fans without the knowledge of Bridgestone Arena security. Essentially, they're choosing to sneak a dead catfish into the building with it taped to their leg. In addition, the NHL's rulebook states that the home team can be charged with a bench minor if something is thrown on the ice post-goal.
The Predators have yet to respond to the letter and you shouldn't really expect them to. While the plastic fish doesn’t sound like a half bad idea, it wouldn't really work in Nashville's favor unless it came following a hat trick. That said, you have to imagine buying a plastic catfish beats stuffing one in your pants.