Panthers no longer selling rats at home games

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers will no longer sell plastic toy rats at their home arena.

Fans throwing the rats onto the ice after goals and during play had been a safety concern. The Panthers have encouraged people to throw them only after home victories, even threatening ejections if anyone is caught doing so during play.

The toys are still available for sale at the team’s practice facility.

The so-called “Rat Trick” started in Florida during the 1995-96 season, when the Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. Scott Mellanby used his stick to kill a rat in the Panthers’ dressing room before a game, then scored two goals that night.

Florida leads a first-round series with New Jersey 3-2 and can advance with a Game 6 win in Newark on Tuesday.