Saturday, October 13, 2012

Some hockey trivia

I've never watched a hockey game in my life but I overheard some guy saying he didn't capisky why hockey fans threw octopi octopuses onto the ice sometimes.  For some reason this sparked my curiosity so I looked it up.  Here's the wiki, slightly edited by me.

The Legend of the Octopus is a sports tradition during Detroit Red Wings home playoff games where octopuses are thrown onto the ice surface. The origins of the activity go back to the 1952 playoffs, when a National Hockey League team played two best-of-seven series to capture the Stanley Cup. The octopus, having eight arms, symbolized the number of playoff wins necessary for the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.

The practice started April 15, 1952 when Pete and Jerry Cusimano, brothers and storeowners in Detroit's Eastern Market, hurled an octopus into the rink of The Old Red Barn. The team swept the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens en route to winning the championship, as well as winning two of the next three championships.

Since 1952 the practice has persisted with each passing year. In one 1995 game, fans threw 36 octopuses, including a specimen weighing 38 pounds. The Red Wings' unofficial mascot is a purple octopus named Al, and during playoff runs two of these mascots are also hung from the rafters of the Joe Louis Arena, symbolizing the 16 wins now needed to win the Stanley Cup. It has become such an accepted part of the team's lore, that fans have developed what is considered proper etiquette and technique for throwing an octopus onto the ice. More here:

Then there's a lot more about what other team's fans throw onto the ice.

Then, at the end, there's this little tidbit I found amusing.


Al Sobotka, the Joe Louis Arena head ice manager and one of the two Zamboni drivers, is the person who retrieves the thrown octopuses from the ice. After he retrieves an octopus, he has been known to twirl it above his head as he walks across the ice rink to the Zamboni entrance. 

 Jerry Mendoza/Associated Press
Al Sobotka, the Zamboni driver at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, 
twirling an octopus, a ritual at home playoff games.

On April 19, 2008, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell sent a memo to the Detroit Red Wings organization that forbids Zamboni drivers from cleaning up any octopuses thrown onto the ice and imposes a $10,000 fine for violating the mandate.

The linesmen will instead perform any clean-up duties. In an email to the Detroit Free Press, NHL spokesman Frank Brown justified the ban because "matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice" when Al Sobotka swings it above his head. 

Oh really?  Then why didn't the players beat the crap out of him for it?  Why didn't the players strongly object to peeps throwing them on the ice in the first place? 

Think I can't find politics in a post like this?  Think again.

The Klown is calling "Lib" at Colin Campbell because a lib NEVER passes up an opportunity to "wield powa."

In an article describing the effects of the new rule the Detroit Free Press dubbed the NHL's prohibition as "Octopus-gate". By the beginning of the third round of the 2008 Playoffs, the NHL loosened the ban to allow for the octopus twirling to take place at the Zamboni entrance.

OK, so now you know ... go out there and help others.

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