FLA Live Arena, Home to the Florida Panthers – Sunrise, FL – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Felix Mizioznikov
The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking into an incident from Monday night’s game that appears to show a fan attacking Viktor E. Ratt, the Florida Panthers’ mascot.
Viktor was thrown over a railing at the 100 level by a young man wearing a Lightning t-shirt while shouting “Go Bolts!” in a video taken by @pantherman2020.
Additionally, he glared at the ice and yelled at the Florida players, “You still stink!”
The fan allegedly yelled, “You suck big rat,” at the mascot.
The fan appeared to be grabbing the mascot and pulling his jersey over his head as the play proceeded behind him, and the mascot’s handler and an usher in the tunnel appeared to be standing by and watching.
Sunrise Police or security was not visible in the footage.
Both the fans’ violence and the lack of response are surprising in the video. The lack of response from fans close to the mascot led some fans to believe that the battle was planned.
It seems like it was not.
Another video shared by @David954FLA showed the mascot holding what appeared to be a white Tampa Bay reverse throwback shirt, which he may have obtained from the clearly unimpressed Lightning fan beforehand.
In a rout, the Lightning (32-16-2) were trailing the host Panthers (25-22-6) 7-1 at the moment as evidenced by one of the videos. The 2023 All-Star Game MVP Matthew Tkachuk finished with two goals and three assists for a total of five points in the game, and head coach Paul Maurice recorded his 800th career victory.
The Panthers’ victory over the Lightning on Monday was their first over that specific team in more than a year, according to a report by David Wilson of the Miami Herald. The next game for Florida will take place on Thursday at home against the San Jose Sharks.
Except for a matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the two clubs won’t meet on the Panthers’ home rink again this season; instead, they’ll play on Feb. 28 in Tampa Bay.
Stories that matter are our priority. At Florida Insider, we make sure that the information we provide our readers is accurate, easy-to-read, and informative. Whether you are interested in business, education, government, history, sports, real estate, nature or travel: we have something for everyone. Follow along for the best stories in the Sunshine State.
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.