Panthers Ban Rat Sales

Rogue rat-chuckers were Devils fans, team says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2012 12:31 AM CDT
Updated Apr 24, 2012 4:41 AM CDT
Panthers Ban Rat Sales
Workers clear the ice of rubber rats during a playoff game in 1996.   (Getty Images/NHLI)

The Florida Panthers are taking steps to cool down one of the NHL's stranger traditions as their playoff run continues. Plastic rats—which fans have been chucking on the ice by the hundred—will no longer be sold at the team's souvenir shops, reports the Miami Herald. The home team can be penalized if objects land on the ice during play and rat sales were stopped after a few dozen rodents landed on the ice during Saturday's 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into tonight's game.

Team officials suspect the rats were thrown by rogue Devils fans instead of Panthers fans, who began the rat-chucking during the team's 1996 Stanley Cup run. The team says that for now, fans are still free to hurl rats if they bring their own—but only after the final horn. "We’d love to keep our rat victory celebrations going, but even that is in jeopardy if people can’t be responsible and follow policies,’’ the team's president says. ‘‘I believe it was visiting fans who threw those rats, and that is unacceptable.’’ (More Stanley Cup stories.)

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