There are several different accounts of how a "hat trick" was celebrated in the history of the NHL. Each have varying degrees of similarity, but all involve a hat being awarded to any player who tallied three goals.Typically the word "haberdashery" is also included, which is fantastic.
I'm not sure how that evolved into fans throwing their hats onto the ice to acknowledge the feat, but that appears to be the tradition that hockey fans have stuck with. It is a relatively harmless exercise, and hats can't really be weaponized to pose a threat to anyone. Until anyone comes up with a better idea to celebrate a trio of goals, I suppose we'll continue to toss our used lids to the ice.
My idea of releasing a family of raccoons on the ice was innovative and entertaining, but relatively dangerous and potentially inhumane. Here are some other items that have found their way onto the NHL playing surface.
Note to all you young whippersnappers: If you throw something other than your hat onto the ice, you will be abruptly asked to leave by an unpleasant member of arena security. Just because you paid to sit close to the ice, does not give you the right to throw stuff onto it. Enjoy the game and stop smuggling ocean and jungle creatures in your pants.
A tradition that began in 1952 by brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who owned a store in Detroit's Eastern Market. The eight legs of the octopus symbolized the number of wins (at the time) required to win the Stanley Cup. Detroit would win the requisite eight games that season and a tradition was born.
In response to division rival Detroit chucking octopi, Nashville supporters responded in kind by tossing catfish onto the ice for Predator games. The Nashville ice girls then skate onto the ice and eat the catfish off the ice.
One of those sentences is not true. You'll have to decide.
The rat tradition in Florida came about when Panther's captain Scott Mellanby exterminated a rodent that had found its way into the Florida locker room. The tradition of tossing rats onto the ice was as short-lived as Florida's winning seasons.
Vancouver scoring machine Jeff Cowan was also a hit with the ladies. One of his seven Vancouver goals was so impressive, a woman showed her support by surrendering hers.
Back in 1991, Los Angeles Kings' coach Tom Webster was pretty pissed off at referee Kerry Fraser and his hair. It wasn't your normal rant about a bad call or complaint about an illegal play. Webster went next level and chucked a stick "javellin-style" at Fraser, hitting him in the skate.
Webster was given a 12-game suspension for the incident. The only footage I could find of the incident is in this montage. Forward to the 3:08 mark to skip ahead.
In a relatively un-original move, Jeremy Roenick tosses a water bottle at a referee. I figured plenty of players or coaches had done this before and was surprised to discover that there weren't any others. In fact, there weren't any other video clips of Roenick chucking the bottle so bear with the J.R.'s top 10 clip or fast forward to 2:40.
Robbie Ftorek's NHL coaching resume has 229 wins, but he's probably more famous for tossing a bench onto the ice in protest of his players' injury in a game against Detroit. He was ejected from the game and suspended for one game.
Devin Setoguchi's first career NHL hat trick was celebrated by one San Jose fan by tossing an umbrella onto the ice. I guess if you don't have a hat, you toss the closest disposable item such as...a donkey, an old record player, or an umbrella.
One of the dumbest and most dangerous things thrown on the ice was some type of flaming, smoking flare tossed onto the playing surface by a moronic "fan" in Philadelphia.
Best 15 minutes of fame ever! Great job loser, you're a hero.
A very committed San Jose Sharks fan tosses a dead duck on the ice during a Ducks-Sharks game. Points for originality and ability to smuggle the morbid mallard into the game. Remember you youngsters, don't try this at home!
Congrats to the San Jose fanbase for one-upping the dead duck on the ice by tossing a shark with an octopus in it's mouth during the San Jose-Detroit playoff series in 2010. The question again is, how the hell did someone get that into the arena?
Even as a diehard Red Wing fan, I must give a tip of the hat to the creativity and innovation of the San Jose fans.
If any Toronto fans have an explanation for why waffles were tossed onto the ice, I'd love to hear it. Please and thank you!
What happens when an Original Six franchise hires a no-talent blow-hard to become their agitator? Well, the Sean Avery experiment lasted 264 games, and it was one of the most offensive things any NHL fan has seen tossed out on the ice.