With the first few games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs officially in the books, we have hockey on the brain. From the coveted Stanley Cup itself to the rich traditions unique to every team, there are so many facets that make hockey unlike any other sport out there. In the spirit of the 2015 hunt for the Stanley Cup, we’re diving into some of the wildest, strangest and coolest traditions in this fast-paced game. Enjoy!
The Legend of the Octopus
If you’re attending a Detroit Red Wings home playoff game for the first time, you might be surprised when fans being flinging octopi from the stands. The tradition dates back to the ‘52 playoffs when the first octopus was thrown onto the ice. The creature’s eight arms symbolized the number of wins needed to secure the Cup. The Red Wings got their wins after sweeping Toronto and Montreal to claim the ultimate victory, and the tradition of the octopus continued.
Florida’s Victory Rats
Some fans throw hats onto the ice after an amazing feat, but Florida Panther fans took it a step farther. The Rat Trick was coined in the 95-96 season when team member Scottie Mellanby killed a rat with his stick before a game, then went on to score two goals. Fans were so elated, they began throwing plastic rats onto the ice after every Panther goal. The NHL eventually banned the practice, but that still earns Panther fans one of the most unique traditions in hockey history!
The Trophy Superstition
The Stanley Cup is truly the Holy Grail to professional hockey players, so much so that when a team wins their conference, many team captains will refuse to touch the conference trophy. It’s not the Cup, and they don’t want to jinx it.
The Universal Playoff Beard
It’s a league-wide tradition as the Playoffs near — players from the LA Kings to the Boston Bruins and all teams in between make a “no shaving” vow until their team has taken home the Stanley Cup. It’s a custom so popular, even the hardcore fans have adopted this tradition, and grow their facial locks all throughout playoff season.
One Day with the Cup
If you’ve ever witnessed the winning team celebrate Stanley Cup victory, chances are it gave you goosebumps. The sheer joy of the men is contagious – but the celebration doesn’t end there. The Cup goes on to spend one day with each player of the team. From the Caribbean to Europe, the shoreline to the Mountains, the Stanley Cup has been just about everywhere.