Detroit Red Wings Octopus Tradition: Officially Illegal, Unofficial Endorsed by the Team (Videos)
The Detroit Red Wings octopus tradition, sometimes called the “Legend of the Octopus,” began in 1952. Back then, with only six teams in the NHL, you only needed to win two best-of-seven playoff series to hoist the Stanley Cup. When a couple of Detroit fishmongers threw an octopus on the ice before the first game as a symbolic gesture, and the Wings went on to sweep the Leafs and Canadiens to win the Cup, a tradition was born—a cool, albeit kind of gross, wasteful, possibly cruel tradition.
Of course, these days it’s illegal to throw an octopus on the ice at a Red Wings playoff game. Doing so will get you ejected from the game and fined like this bearded fellow from Game 4 between the Wings and Lightning:
However, it’s easy to understand why Red Wings fans might not realize that octopus-throwing is technically illegal. The team sends mixed messages, what with the giant purple octopus named Al hanging from the Joe Louis rafters, and with the official Detroit Red Wings Vine account posting videos like this:
The lesson here? Do not throw octopuses on the ice. Unless they are huge. Then totally do it! But not really, ’cause we’ll kick you out. Maybe?