Red Wings fans have, for a looooooooong time, thrown octopi on the ice during the Playoffs. Mr. Al Sobotka, the Building Operations Manager for the Wings, is the man who picks these slimy critters off the ice. Tradition is that Al twirls the eight-legged cephalopod over his head, to the giddy delight of the fans. "Fidiot" has suddenly decided that this is a dangerous activity that needs to be stopped IMMEDIATELY; threatening a $10,0000.00 fine (per infraction) to the Red Wings organization if Al continues twirling. Apparently, bits of octopus goo are detrimental to hockey players.
Gross? Yes. Detrimental? Hardly. Who knew that rubbery octopi were Weapons of Mass Destruction?! Not this Red Wings Fan(atic)!
Okay, this tradition has been around since 1952. Either hockey players have suddenly become pussified or "Fidiot" needs a name upgrade to "Fasshole". Here is a petition in support of Al and the Red Wings mascot that is named for him. I'd appreciate any additional support Big Al's Infamous Twirling can get, but by no means are you obligated to sign!
Just for your information: Nashville fans throw catfish on the ice. San Jose fans throw sharks. There are also hats thrown when a player has a hat trick! Oh the insanity!!!!!!!!!!
Al also drives (one of) the Zamboni between periods. What's next? No Zamboni rides for the fans! Heartless and cruel, I tell you! FYI: I have a dream...of riding the Zamboni. *giggle*
The legend of the octopus is thus: There are few traditions in sports that compare to those in the game of hockey. One such tradition is the throwing of octopi onto the ice at Red Wings games. Ever wonder how it started?
The octopus first made its appearance on April 15, 1952, during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup playoff run.
Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano - storeowner's in Detroit's Eastern Market - threw the eight-legged cephalopod on the ice at Olympia Stadium. Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs. Back then, the NHL boasted only six teams, and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings swept the series that year, and the Octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since.
The tradition carried over to Joe Louis Arena on opening night in 1979 when several found their way onto the ice.
During the 1995 playoffs, Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell, co-workers at a meat and seafood retail company near Detroit, tossed a 38-pound octopus onto the ice during the National Anthem prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The year after, the duo struck again with a 50-pounder in the Conference Finals. Although the feat received no airtime on the nationally broadcast game, the octopus was proudly displayed on the hood of the Zamboni between periods.
*Lifted directly from the Red Wings homepage
I found this at Wikipedia:
"According to NHL rules, if any fan throws an object on the ice in celebration, the supported team could be issued a delay of game penalty. However, the NHL tends to look the other way when Sobotka does his stuff. Frank Brown, the league’s vice president for media relations, said in response:
“Every so often, an octopus slips out of someone’s hands, and Al is right there to take care of the matter. And he cannot be blamed if, as it tries to break free from Al’s grasp, the octopus lifts Al’s arm and twirls itself in the air.”
In the 2008 playoffs, the NHL issued a warning that while they were fine with Octopuses being thrown on the ice, the Red Wings would be fined $10,000 if Sobotka twirled the Octopus in the air, as bits of the Octopus were getting in the ice and on the opposing goaltender. "
Sheesh...I really hope that it wasn't Dan Ellis crying about this. I sang his praises all throughout the First Round! I mean, really! C'mon Danny! What's a little cephalopod goo between friends?!
*Interested Parties: octopi are available at the Superior Fish Company, 309 E. 11 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067. (248)541-4632.
*Not intended to incite Random!Octopi!Tossing! or anything,..I'm just disseminating information. *wink*