GR with the call most had increasingly assumed was a foregone conclusion after late-game theatrics of a few not so well-intentioned patrons among the BankAtlantic Center crowd during Saturday's 3-0 Florida Panthers victory over New Jersey:
George Richards @OnFrozenPond - #FlaPanthers say decision to not sell rubber rats at arena anymore was made on their own. Rats hit during final minutes of play Saturday
George Richards @OnFrozenPond - #njDevils fans throwing rats on ice during late face off forced #FlaPanthers to not sell rats at arena anymore. After goals not a big deal
Doesn't sound as if the team has expunged the practice of tossing the rats, just made it impossible to purchase them at the arena, thereby - theoretically - keeping the likelihood of in-game infestation lower than it otherwise would be. But that wasn't really the issue...the problem lies in enforcement of the No-Rodent rule - highly visible throughout the BAC - before a game ends. From the mouth of coach Kevin Dineen late Saturday:
"I’m a little concerned about the rats in the middle of the game. I know there’s a lot of Devil fans throwing them out there trying to get us a delay of game penalty there. I hope that’s something we can hold until the end of the game."
UPDATE via the Miami Herald: "Due to pressure from the NHL, the Panthers will no longer sell rubber rats at gift shops inside the BankAtlantic Center." More from GR here. Doesn't really change anything, but ok.