Perfecting the art of throwing catfish
Fast forward to 2002, when the Wings came to Nashville, and some inspired Preds lover decided that the team needed its own twist on the toss, this time using a staple of local cuisine. During the game, seemingly out of nowhere, a catfish flew over the glass onto center ice, the crowd went wild, Nashville won, and the tradition was born. (Not everyone was happy about it, though -- one stadium worker tasked with cleaning them up said, “They are so gross. They're huge, they're heavy, they stink, and they leave this slimy trail on the ice. But, hey, if it's good for the team, I guess we can deal with it.'')
And as one might reasonably expect, it’s not an easy stunt to pull off, given that it’s technically illegal to bring them into the stadium. Fans either purchase the fish at local seafood markets or catch their own whiskered whales from the Cumberland River, which runs a few blocks from Bridgestone. Then they smuggle the beasts inside, often using plastic wrap or tape to affix the contraband to the small of their backs, stomachs, or legs while the ushers and security guards (usually) turn a blind eye out of loyalty to the team. The throwing mostly happens before the end of the pre-game “Star-Spangled Banner,” as few people want to have a smelly, rotting animal stuck to them for any longer than necessary. Others, with less concern for the odors and slime, hold out until the Predators score or win.