Superstitions in sports are nothing new, with players and teams having their own rituals and traditions that are unique to each and every one. But how do these traditions become infamous? They all start with unusual ideas. Sports fans can be rowdy, but that is how all good things come to be. The passion by fans is unmatched, which results in some unique traditions that eventually become well known by fans around the league.
The Octopus Toss
Arguably the most infamous tradition, this one started in Detroit back in 1952. During the playoffs, two fans decided to smuggle an octopus into Olympia Arena, and toss it on the ice during a game. The sea creature was meant to symbolize a tentacle for each win on the path to the finals, which was 8. The fans were hoping the Red Wings would sweep the Maple Leafs and then the Canadians, eventually bringing in a Stanley Cup with a perfect record. After the toss, the Red Wings ended up with a Stanley Cup, and an unofficial mascot for every playoff game since.
Courtesy of David Guralnick/Detroit News
Catfish on Ice
Back when the Nashville Predators became a team in 1998, most of the fanbase was made up of Red Wings fans who worked at the local auto plants. Knowing how successful the octopus turned out for Detroit, fans in Nashville decided to embrace the tradition with their own local sea creature – the catfish. During a game in 2002, one fan decided the team needed their own twist, and tossed a catfish on the ice. The crowd went wild and Nashville won the game, and thus a new tradition was born.
During the 2018-19 season the Carolina Hurricanes introduced a post-game celebration during their home victories. At the end of each win, the team would gather at center ice and do a variation of a choreographed routine for the fans. Each routine would be different, with some involving props or creative themes. This quickly gained attention from fans, making this one of the more well known traditions across the league.
Courtesy of James Guillory/ USA Today Sports
This tradition is believed to have started in 1982, after a Vancouver Canucks loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canucks coach at the time, Roger Neilson, believed the game was lost due to poor refereeing, and put a white towel on a hockey stick and raised it in imitation to surrender. Shortly after, fans would wave white towels to create a sea of white in the arena, showing support for their team. This became a symbol of unity for the team and fans, and a sign of encouragement in the playoffs since then.
Courtesy of Ric Ernst/Province
So how exactly do these wild ideas turn into long standing traditions? Well, the passion the fans display and the closeness it brings to them and their team allows for these ideas to become a symbol for the team. Each one of these ideas is different in their own way, and brings the fun back into watching hockey games. It's a no-brainer that eventually the obscure ideas would stick. The traditions are what makes these teams unique, and shows that hockey has a fun and creative edge to it, while still maintaining its image as one of the major sports in the world.
Edited By: Jessi Dworkin
Social Media Content Created By: Audrey Pearsall