It’s a baffling, and what animal rights activists called, cruel, tradition that has gone back decades in Detroit.
Now some groups are suggesting alternatives.
PETA began distributing octopus-shaped squeeze balls to encourage fans to use rubber rather than real octopus.
And there’s also a suggestion that the arena should install a scanner to check fans planning to smuggle in octopus into the game.
PETA suggested fans throwing octopuses on to the ice should be fined $5,000. That’s ten times the fine the city bylaws has for throwing anything on to the field of play. Even with the ordinance, very few people are ever caught and fined. PETA wants any fans caught to be ejected for life.
But the Detroit Free Press reported that not everyone is in favour of tossing out the octopus tradition.
Kevin Dean, co-owner of Superior Fish Co. in Royal Oak, long the fans’ favored source of octopuses, told the Free Press that the sea creatures aren’t endangered, and they arrive at his store frozen and thoroughly “passed away” from the western Pacific Ocean, where they are plentiful.
Tossing an octopus on the ice at key games has been a tradition with the Red Wings since it was begun by a couple of brothers with a store in Eastern Market — who famously chose the eight-armed octopus to symbolize eight NHL playoff games.