THE CATFISH TOSS: THE TOTALLY REAL TRADITION IN NASHVILLE
By Marc Auker
Perhaps the most unique hockey town in America has arguably the most unique tradition: the catfish toss. The Nashville Predators’ participation in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins has brought Nashville into the national spotlight; and this spotlight has highlighted one of the most bizarre (and controversial) traditions in all of sports.
It all started back in 1999 when a fan of the Predators decided to sling a catfish on the ice for good luck. The Predators were established in 1998, not too long before the first toss on that fateful day in 1999. The team was young enough that they hadn’t established their own special game-time tradition. So when the unlikely token-of-appreciation caused such an uproar of popularity among fans, the catfish toss had to become the tradition.
The toss usually happens during three times in a typical Nashville home game: the pre-game singing of the national anthem; the moment the Predators score a goal; and after the final buzzer sounds for a Predators win. Think about that. Some fans hold on to a dead fish for an entire game. One fan even threw a catfish on the ice during an away game in Pittsburgh, which resulted in the fan’s arrest. That’s determination at its finest.
Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette posted a video on Twitter to try to rally Predators fans to stop throwing catfish after game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. That sure didn’t work. Game four saw just as many slimy water-dwellers launched from the stands as before.
We’ll have to wait and see if all this catfish throwing will conjure enough luck for Nashville to bring home the championship as the Stanley Cup Finals continue. Game five is slated for June 8 at 8 p.m. EST in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.