Fans Tell Story Behind Preds Catfish Tradition

Posted at 11:01 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 00:03:42-04

Throwing catfish on the ice was a tradition that started back in 2003 in a game between the Predators and the Detroit Redwings. 

Detroit is known for throwing octopus on the ice, so to make a tradition of their own in the way only a southern team could, Nashville fans chose to throw catfish. 

During game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks, numerous catfish were thrown onto the ice after Carrie Underwood finished singing the National Anthem. 

Those catfish were thrown by Austin Casselman, Wes Collins, and their friends. 

The group are friends with Preds captain Mike Fisher, and they stepped up after the Preds had such a good showing in Chicago, coming back to Nashville with a 2-0 series lead. 

"We kind of felt like the tradition was dying down, and last year we told the boys, you go up 2-0, you come back, we're throwing some fish on the ice," Casselman said, adding that when the Preds were up 2-0 this year as well, they thought it was a no-brainer. 

The group gets the catfish at the Nolensville market. "It doesn't smell good there," Casselman said. 

"That place smells horrible, like, horrible," Collins added.

The catfish are $2.99/lb., but buying the fish is the easy part, the hard part is getting it into the game. 

The group said it's quite a process. You have to strap it to your back using plastic wrap, and with the fish being more than 15 lbs. each, you need to secure it well.

"You gotta kind of strap it from up underneath so the juices don't roll down your legs," Collins explained.

The group then puts on baggy shirts so it doesn't expose the fish when going through security.

"They're looking out for the more serious things besides a catfish," Casselman said, saying that security may give them a pass.

Once they get into the game, they remove the catfish from their backs, then put them in bags, and get to their locations, with the help of other fans who get a whiff of what they're doing. 

"Everybody loves it," Collins said. "They try to help me hide it until it's time to throw it." 

Due to how heavy and slimey the catfish are, you have to grab the fish by their mouths and throw them like a shot put. 

"If you hit the glass and it rolls down, it's gonna be a little, kind of a buzz kill," Collins said. 

Players are fans of the tradition as well.

"It's probably better than an octopus," Mike Fisher said. 

"Our fans are definitely crazy in a good way," Roman Josi said. 

"I don't think you'd catch me sneaking one into the building, but we love it," Harry Zolnierczyk said. "It's making this place one fun place to play." 

The group said they don't do the catfish for every game, just special occasions, and they said if the Preds make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, they'll attempt to bring in a 50 lbs. catfish to throw on the ice.