Quick Learn

Why did the Florida Panthers throw rats on the ice?

By / 11 May 2023 10:29 AM

Toy thrown on the ice after the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at the BB&T Center on April 9, 2016
Source : twitter

Why did the Florida Panthers throw rats on the ice? They throw rats for the Florida Panthers games because to celebrate each goal they score.

During a match between the Panthers and the Calgary Flames, a rodent appeared in the locker room of the old Miami Arena. It happened on 9 October 1995 and became a South Florida hockey tradition.

Former team captain Scott Mellanby sprang to his feet, grabbed a stick, and slammed the obnoxious rodent into a wall. The same night he scored two goals. Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck yelled, " He scored a rat trick."

The whole scenario was witnessed by the 3-year-old Brian Skrudland. This tradition reminds the Pathersn fans of the club playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the next game, more rodents appeared on the ice. Since then games are never normal for them; plastic rodents are thrown on the ice while playing.

You May Like:

Where Does The Florida Panthers Play?

How Many Canadian Players On Florida Panthers?

What Do The Rats Mean For The Florida Panthers?

The rats in Florida Panthers hockey teams means a player who is always on the ice rink. But for the Florida Panthers, it means a sign of success in the Stanely Cup.

Recently, the Boston Bruins player Brad Marchand has gotten the nickname "Rat." He has been under the stupidest penalties. Former player Bruin Ken Linseman's nickname was also the same.

Ken also accrued his fair share of penalty minutes, with 167 PIMs during the 1987-88 season. He often got into the eyes of the fans for borderline hits and arrogant behavior.

Related Terms With Their Meanings:

Rink Rat: A player who is always staking at the rink.

Rat Hockey: It is a chance for the players to play in a pickup game without format and supervision. They can play freely without any restrictions.

Why Is The Florida Panthers Mascot A Rat?

The Florida Panthers mascot is a rat because of the unexpected first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance. They appear in the championship after Scott hits a rodent.

They have two mascots Viktor E. Rat and Stanley C. Panther. The team introduced the anthropomorphic rodent dubbed mascot in the 2014 season.

Viktor E. Rat 5k was first hosted in 2016. It helps individuals with cancer to fight financially through the Florida Panthers Foundation and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also, registered people get tickets to their one game.

Viktor is a costumed character. He was attacked by an unidentified fan during the game at FLA Live Arena in 2020 after the team's 7-1 victory.

Viktor was introduced in the 2014 season.
Source : twitter


  • Birthplace: Miami, Florida
  • First Game Appearance Date: 11 October 2014
  • First Game Appearance Location: BB&T Center

Stanley was named after hockey's greatest prize, the Stanley Cup, and Florida's state animal (the Florida panther).


  • Height: 6 feet and 3 inches
  • Birthplace: Big Cypress Reserve
  • First Game Appearance Date: 12 October 1993
  • First Game Appearance Location: Miami Arena

The Rat Trick Legend

Legend of the rat trick is Scott Mellanby. Scott hit a rodent and scored two goals that night with a hockey stick in the NHL 1995 - 96 season.

It was their third season in the league. Scott entered the changing room. He happened to face a rodent resulting in a panic reaction by hitting it with a stick.

Panthers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck coined the term. As he was interviewed after the game, Scott failed to make a hattrick score but did a rat trick instead.

As soon as their fans knew about it, they started considering rodents as the great luck in the playoffs. They were already in the 1996 playoffs.

It was also the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac which proved to be the Year of the Panther's Rat.

Scott Mellanby is the son of former Hockey Night in Canada producer Ralph Mellanby
Source : facebook

The athlete made his hockey debut in 1979 in a Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with a minor ice hockey team. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted him in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft as the 27th overall pick.

Mellanby scored the first goal for the Panthers in the league's history in October 1993. He retired from ice hockey in April 2007 as the first player as a Thrashers captain.

His NHL debut was on 22 March 1998 in a match against the New York Rangers. He played for has played for the following clubs:

  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Florida Panthers
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Atlanta Thrashers

Scott is married to Susan whom he met playing at Madison. They have a daughter named Courtney and two sons, Carter and Nicholas.

Why Do They Throw Rats On The Ice In Florida?

They throw rats on the ice in Florida as a sign of luck for the playoff appearance. Scott spotted a rodent in the locker room in the home opener to kick off the 1995-96 campaign.

They swept away the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers during that season. They got victory over the Calgary Flames with a 4 - 3 win.

In some parts of Miami, people sell cakes and cupcakes with rodents drawn on them. Due to this, the old Miami Arena became one of the most noisy and squawking play stations.

People used to get them at sale for $5 a piece at Bank Atlantic Center. They stopped giving sales as it started hampering their games.

In the ritual, fans throw plastic rodents on the ice to summon the energy of a goal. The team describes that year as the "Year of the Rat."

Bank Atlantic Center showered with toys in April 2012
Source : facebook

The Tradition Came Back In 2012

Since then, every time the Panthers scored a goal, supporters have thrown the rubber rodents onto the ice in commemoration.

The tradition disappeared for years after they got beaten by Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche during the Stanley Cup Championship. It surged again in 2012 when they returned to the championship finals and won their first Stanley Cup.

It was also their first Southeast Division crown. They started to sell their rodents at the Bank Atlantic Center..

However, nothing compares to the team's first-period score in Game 1 of its sole trip in the Stanley Cup Final, when hundreds of phony rodents poured down on the ice in commemoration.

The team cleaning team had 25 people in the arena to clean off the rodents on game day. As per Vault, there was an estimated $55,000 worth of rodents.

Some Rules:

During the 1996 - 97 seasons, the NHL introduced new rules to save their savings and give penalties for a few more conditions. They had to call cleaners and an exterminator company to start off the game.

As the rule says, the home team's fans can not make trouble for making the make pause during the game.

In 2016, rodent throwing drew the attention of the hockey world once more after the team was awarded a delay of game penalty due to cleanup attempts stopping the continuation of a game.

The league has to display the arena's Jumbotron to hold on to their rodents until the game concludes.

  • Game attendees can throw rodents only after the game concludes.
  • People can not throw after a goal. Too many rodents around the rink can give them a delay-of-game penalty. (They were penalized twice during a match with New Jersey in 2016.)
  • Not all players like being hit by a rodent; some are happy with it, and some throw them back to the stands. (Some flying rodents have even gotten to come players including Martin Brodeur.)

Related post of Quick Learn