Florida Panthers

Rats! A Florida Panthers playoff etiquette guide

The Florida Panthers gather at center ice and raise their as the fans throw plastic rats onto the ice after their win against the Minnesota Wild at BB&T Center on Jan. 3, 2016.
The Florida Panthers gather at center ice and raise their as the fans throw plastic rats onto the ice after their win against the Minnesota Wild at BB&T Center on Jan. 3, 2016. AP

In 1996, the rules to throwing rats on the ice at a Florida Panthers game was simple: Toss ‘em after a goal. Since then, the NHL has changed the rules a bit. Here’s what you need to know for proper rat etiquette:

▪ When can I throw my rat? Only after the game is complete and preferably following a Florida Panthers victory. It looks kind of weird when fans throw rats after a loss although if it’s at the end of a hard-fought series, go ahead.

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▪ Where do I get a rat? At the rubber rat store, of course. OK, there’s no such place so you have to be creative. Some party supply stores still have them from Halloween as do some dollar stores. They can also be ordered in bulk through Amazon. The Panthers have threatened to sell rats for $20 at their gift shop, but as of Tuesday, they were “only” $5.

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▪ Do I need to sneak my rats in? No, the rats are as connected to the team as its feline mascot 'Stanley C. Panther.' The Panthers even added a rodent mascot named “Viktor E. Rat,” who runs around the arena with Stanley.

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▪ What if get excited and throw my rat after a goal? The Panthers don't like that. Too many rats could cost them a delay of game penalty as it did last month when the team gave out 10,000 commemorative rats before a game with the Devils. Florida was slapped with two delay of game penalties that night and are believed to be the first team to be so penalized by on-ice officials.

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▪ Do players like the rats? Apparently so. Some are known to scoop some up and bring them home after wins, while others like hitting them back into the stands with their stick.

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