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MORE SPORTS | Apr 19

NHL Playoffs: 16 Teams’ Most Bizarre Traditions

From an Original Goal Song to Plastic Rats…

NHL Playoffs: 16 Teams' Most Bizarre Traditions
Fans throw plastic rats on the ice - BRUCE BENNETT / Getty Images via AFP

It’s Playoff Time Baby 🏒

To this day plastic and rubber rats litter the ice after a Panthers goal…

NHL games today are all about flash and sizzle, so in anticipation of the postseason we decided to take a look at the 16 teams that are ready to rumble in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the eccentric traditions that are uniquely theirs.

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Eastern Conference

No. 8 Washington Capitals – Rock the Red

In 2018 when Alex Ovechkin was a stone-cold superstar and Washington won the Stanley Cup, fans would deck themselves out in red Caps jerseys to honor their boys at home. Today this tradition continues and it’s like the annual White Out Penn State football game but without the passion, electricity, or legacy.

 

No. 7 New York Islanders – The ‘Yes!’ Chant

A former WWE wrestler named Daniel Bryan, now rebranded as Bryan Danielson in the AEW, has a Yes, Yes, Yes chant and for some reason, Islanders’ fans latched onto this and shout it after every Isles’ goal.

 

No. 6 Tampa Bay Lightning – The Boat Parade

When Lightning struck twice in 2020 and 2021 with Tampa making NHL news by winning the Stanley Cup in consecutive years, the boys decided to rent a few boats and partied hearty on the water with their shiny new toy while their adoring public idolized their every drunken move..

 

No. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs – Maple Leaf Square

Why don’t we just call this tradition, “Where Dreams Go to Die”? Maple Leaf Square is a graveyard filled with zombies who believe that watching the Leafs on a big screen outside the stadium during the first round of the playoffs will somehow breathe life into a franchise that collectively swallows a chicken bone every April and chokes themselves right out of the postseason.

No. 4 Boston Bruins – The Fan Banner

If you call Boston Beantown then everyone will know you’re an outsider. After two decades of championship banners from all four teams, the natives just call it Titletown. As for the Bruins, the fan banner is emblematic of the team that’s one of the Original Six and is rolling yet again into the NHL playoffs.

 

No. 3 Carolina Hurricanes – The Storm Surge

This “tradition” is more of a fad, already going the way of the pet rock, mood ring, or planking. It was cool at the beginning (2019) when Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brindamour suggested an interactive celebration with the fans after a home win but now it seems a bit too contrived.

 

No. 2 Florida Panthers – The Plastic Rats

It was opening night at Miami Arena in 1996 when Panthers forward Scott Mellanby had to kill a rat with his stick moments before the first period began. Mellanby went on to score two goals in that game which prompted goalie John Vanbiesbrouck to coin it a “rat trick”. Naturally, that caught everyone’s attention and to this day plastic and rubber rats litter the ice after a Panthers goal.

 

No. 1 New York Rangers – The Broadway Hatx

This Big Apple tradition began in 2011 when in a season-opening game in Europe, one of the players purchased a fedora and the flame was lit. Since that time this has become known as the Broadway Hat, commemorated as a nod to New York’s internationally renowned theater district, and is given to the MVP of every home victory.

 

Western Conference

No. 8 Vegas Golden Knights – The Knight Battle

No one does it bigger or better than Vegas. When NHL rumors began circulating that a franchise was coming to Sin City, you had to know it was going to be a big deal. They have a laser show featuring a holograph of a knight defending the honor of the franchise, showgirls gyrating in the aisles, and everything else that just shouts “This is Las Vegas motha f*cka!

 

No. 7 Los Angeles Kings – The Dressing Room Dance Party

If this was a choreographed dance in the locker room, I’d say that would be a bit – oh, what’s the word I’m looking for…gay, that’s it! But this is just a bunch of dudes rocking out after a big win, together, as they undress in front of each other.

 

No. 6 Nashville Predators – The Catfish Toss

When Billy Bob and Peggy Sue decide to jump in the pickup and get on down to the big city to see a Preds game then you can be sure they’re bringing a big ol’ catfish to toss on the ice after the home team scores. It’s a counter to Detroit’s octopus toss but the Wings are already on vacation so we’ll leave them out of this.

 

No. 5 Edmonton Oilers – The Plumber and the Artist

If you like out-of-the-box thinking then this one’s for you. After every home game, the Oilers give out a paintbrush and beret to the greatest “artist” on the ice, also known as the Oilers’ offensive player of the game. Meanwhile, a plunger is a reward for the player who went into the corners, blocked shots, and did all the dirty work. Consider me a fan.

 

No. 4 Colorado Avalanche – ‘Flag Was Still There’

This is a patriotic tradition that dates back to the ashes of 911 when a fan shouted “and our flag was still there!” It caught on and we can still hear it to this day at Avs home games. No, it’s not the hippest tradition but before a big game, it’ll give you goosebumps.

 

No. 3 Winnipeg Jets – The Whiteout

Let’s give Jets fans credit. They started their Whiteout tradition back in 1987, 17 years before Penn State, believe it or not, and even British band, Wang Chung, penned a song about the arena’s blizzard of snowy linen in a song called “Everybody Wear White Tonight.

 

No. 2 Vancouver Canucks – Towel Power

This is a true tradition that spans over 40 years when the late Canucks’ coach, Roger Neilson, waved a white towel on the end of a hockey stick in mock surrender to the officials who he believed were calling a brutal game in a conference finals clash against the Blackhawks.

The fans loved it and brought their white towels in the next game and a tradition was born after the Canucks went on to win the series. A statue commemorating Neilson waving the towel stands to this day outside of Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

 

No. 1 Dallas Stars – The Pantera Goal Song

When I think of Dallas, hockey does not come to mind. However, I’ve got to give it to the Stars, they had a heavy metal band, Pantera, write an original goal song. And because both Vinnie Paul and “Dimebag” Darrell were huge fans, the synergy was right and the song, called Puck Off (Dallas Stars Fight Song), continues to rock Stars’ fans to this day.

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