NHL Cracking Down on Red Wings Octopus Toss Tradition
The MLB would never stop Boston Red Sox fans from singing Sweet Caroline in the 7th inning at Fenway Park. The NFL would never ask New York Jets fans to stop the” J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant during the opening kickoff at New Meadowlands Stadium. The UConn athletic department can ask their students to stop chanting “sucks!” after every opposing player’s and coach’s name is announced at basketball games, but they won’t have any luck. Why, then, has the NHL asked Detroit to put a stop to the nearly 50-year-old tradition of the octopus toss at Detroit Red Wings home playoff games?
On Friday, Puck Daddy recapped the madness that has taken place in Detroit over the past few days, which began with Deadspin’s account of a Red Wings fan being encouraged to throw an octopus onto the ice by arena personnel during Game 1 and ending up ejected from the game and fined $500 by Detroit police.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tradition and weren’t reading LBS back in 2007 when we explained it, the throwing of the octopus started in 1952. It’s eight legs signifying the eight wins a team needed to claim the Stanley Cup at that time. Some opposition to the practice has been seen as recently as 2008, with the NHL threatening to fine the Red Wings $10,000 if an employee threw an octopus on the ice because of the “gunk” that flies off of it.
You can obviously understand why the NHL wants to discourage people from throwing anything onto the ice, but traditions like this are great for the sport. Only the hardest of hardcore fans would smuggle a dead octopus under their jacket just to keep a tradition alive, so why not look the other way and pretend you don’t know where it came flying in from? The solution: more fans need to get in on the act. Make it nearly impossible for security and police to pinpoint where an octopus was thrown from. Get on it, Detroit.