"Well this is the Avalanche's first look at the rats..."
1995 NHL Season
Panthers Forward Scott Mellanby killed a rat with his hockey stick, which had tried scurrying across the team's locker room before the Panthers' home opener on October 8, 1995.
Mellanby went on to score two goals in the game with the same stick in which he killed the rat with. After the game, Florida's goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck then nicknamed Mellanby's feat the "Rat Trick."
Once word had spread to the fans about Mellanby's Rat Trick -- they established the Panthers newest tradition of throwing rubber rats onto the ice during games after a goal was scored. The tradition especially grew in popularity once the team clinched its' first playoff birth ('96), and continued when Florida reached the Cup Finals vs. Colorado.