A month ago, at the tail end of a 4-3 Vancouver road win over the Calgary Flames, a Canucks fan threw a salmon onto the ice. It was kind of a dick move, but it was presumed to be an isolated incident, like that time someone shone a green laser in Miikka Kiprusoff's eyes. Then, last night, someone else did it again.
A repeat performance of the salmon chuck forces us to consider the possibility that this is becoming a thing. If indeed a minor tradition is blossoming, we also need to consider whether or not this is what we want. Do we want be fans that throw salmon? I would say no, and here are three reasons why:
1. Tossing seafood takes preparation.
Do you know how much work it is to maintain a seafood-throwing tradition? I don't think you do. Consider some of unwritten guidelines for tossing an octopus in Detroit:
The secret to throwing a large octopus onto an ice hockey rink is to boil it first for 20 minutes on high heat with a little lemon juice and white wine to mask the odor.
A well-boiled octopus can be hurled close to 100 feet, its rubbery purple tentacles waving, and will bounce and roll satisfactorily across the ice when it lands. A raw dead octopus is a smelly ball that will stick to the ice on impact and often leave an inky stain.
They just splat" when not boiled properly, said Alphonse C. Arnone, a fish monger at the open-air Eastern Market.
You can't just throw ocean creatures around willy-nilly. You've got to prepare them. Last night's salmon was gutted and cleaned. From where I'm sitting, that sounds like an immense amount of preparation for something you're not going to eat, especially something as delicious as salmon.
2. Resistance will be high.
Octopus tossing is against the rules, but it's been a tradition for so long that the staff of Joe Louis Arena understand. Yes, the team's management tries, halfheartedly, to discourage the practice because it violates league policy, but they also use the octopus as a mascot and on advertisements. There's a sort of unspoken understanding going on here, and that sort of understanding doesn't develop overnight.
It's going to take some serious grassroots dedication before the staff of Rogers Arena are anywhere near as accommodating, or willing to overlook their toss not, lest ye may be tossed policy. That means, for the first while, you will be persecuted, if not prosecuted, unless you do it in secret. Are you willing to do the amount of work outlined in point one and not get credit for it? If you throw your arms in the air like Salmon Chuck did in his self-titled video, Salmon Chuck, you will be evicted. Better to go stealth, but are you willing to keep this thing under your hat?
3. You will smell like fish.
Forget keeping it under your hat; are you willing to keep it in your pants? Because that's likely where you'll have to stuff the fish in order to smuggle it in. I don't need to tell you that a pair of pants that reeks of fish is a pretty legitimate turn-off. Are you willing to strike out romantically for this new tradition? And, if you think the smell will be limited to your lower body, consider that, eventually, you're going to have to fish it out of there and throw it. With your hands. Your hands are on your upper body. You're going full body salmon, friend.
In Florida, the fans throw plastic rats. Why plastic, you ask? Because real rats smell like rats, and nobody wants to walk around reeking of rat for the rest of the night. Vancouver fans, it seems, lack this selfsame foresight. Do you want to be known as dumber than people from Florida? They find voting difficult.
I recognize this may be an attempt to throw something with some local value, but if that's all this is, here are three much simpler items that are a) easy to get and b) of relatively little value: mukmuk plushies, Nickelback CDs, and Emily Carr Institute diplomas. Try one of those.
Anyway. Hopefully, this post has adequately discouraged this practice.