Why do Hockey Fans Throw Fish in the Ice

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Traditions have always been observed with enthusiasm and relish in many games and sporting events. An example of this is seen in the ice hockey games. Ice hockey has a long tradition where fans throw fish onto the ice at the ice hockey games.

This tradition of throwing fish into the ice at hockey games is linked with the Nashville Predators. Nashville Predators is an NHL team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are credited with beginning the practice of throwing fish onto the ice in the Predators’ inaugural season in 1998-199. Since then, this has become a unique and quirky tradition among the team’s fans. However, the tradition also has a few reasons behind its follow-up:

Reference to Nashville’s Country Music Culture

Renowned by the title of “Music City”, Nashville is known for its strong country music heritage. The practice of throwing catfish onto the ice at an ice hockey game is a playful tradition that speaks to their cultural identity. This is also because the city’s southern roots are symbolized by the catfish which are thrown onto the ice.  

Inspired by Detroit’s Octopus Tradition

It goes well without saying that the tradition of throwing objects onto the ice at hockey games is common in other places as well and is not just unique to Nashville. Originally, it was inspired by the Detroit Red Wings. They started the tradition of throwing octopuses onto the ice. This is an event that dates back to the 1950s. The eight tentacles of an octopus symbolize the eight wins it took to win the Stanley Cup in that era. When we take this into account, the catfish tradition seen in Nashville can be described as a way to create a similar spectacle and show support for their team.

ice hockey stadium

Adding Excitement and Energy

Throwing a catfish onto the ice is an attention-grabbing and humorous way for fans to show their enthusiasm and support for the Predators. The act adds an element of excitement and energy to the game. This is one of the reasons why the act has become a unique fan engagement tactic.

Rituals and Superstitions

Rituals and superstitions have often been practiced to bring them good luck. Throwing catfish onto the ice is also one of those many rituals that hockey fans believe bring good luck and victory to their team. Throwing a catfish knot on the ice may also be considered a way of boosting their team’s chances of winning by some Predators fans.  


Like all practices, this practice too faced quite a few disparities and oppositions. While this tradition is unique to the Nashville Predators, it is important to remember that it is not universally accepted in the hockey community. Many people find the act distracting, unsportsmanlike, and even disruptive. On the other hand, many others see it as a fun and harmless way for fans to show their support. In addition, since the act deals with the handling of animals, many have also condemned it to be disrespectful to nature and the environment. All the same, throwing catfish onto the ice remains a distinctive aspect of Predators’ home games and has become a part of the team’s identity.

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Tessa Reynolds
Tessa is a Denver-based Skier who likes to do skiing in the mountains of Colorado, and sometimes in the Ski Resorts. Recently, she visited Switzerland, and she got the chance to ski on the majestic Swiss Alps.