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Panthers will no longer sell plastic rats at team store

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
PanthersBy now you're probably already well aware of the Florida Panthers fans throwing plastic rats on the ice in celebration of their team winning. It goes all the way back to the 1996 playoffs when rats constantly rained down from the stands after every goal, a tradition that started after former Panthers player Scott Mellanby had to actually a kill a live rat in the locker room.

The team won later that night, and a tradition was born.

Well, the NHL now has this little rule about throwing things on the ice during games, and it can lead to a delay of game penalty for the home team. It's also a bit of safety hazard for players, especially if it happens while the puck is in play.

Rats hitting the ice during their opening round series against the New Jersey Devils have been a bit of an issue. The Panthers seem to agree, and announced on Monday they will no longer be selling the plastic rats at their team store.

But they're also blaming Devils fans for this move. Seriously. No. Really. They're blaming Devils fans.

Here are a series of Tweets from Panthers CEO Michael Yormark on Monday:



While I'm sure it's possible that there are some trouble-making Devils fans in attendance figuring they can earn their team a cheap power play by throwing a rat on the ice, fooling the refs into thinking it's the hometown fans, there were plenty of celebratory rats that hit the ice in the closing seconds of their Game 5 win over the weekend.



Whether they're still selling them at the arena or not, you can bet this isn't the last time we're going to see plastic vermin hitting the ice in South Florida. And it won't just be fans in the opposing colors that are guilty of putting them there.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
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