why do they throw a squid on the ice

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.
Tommy B. got home from last night s Detroit/Phoenix game but despite a Game One victory, he was sad.

Sad because he had a run-in with Johnny Law. This, because he threw an octopus on the ice. I ll let Tommy take it from here, but keep in mind that he had a couple cocktails to accompany his creature tossing, so bear with him. I have gone to 90 percent of the Detroit Red Wings playoff games over the last eight years. I toss an octopus per tradition in Game 1 and with eight games left. I have thrown eight octopi in the last five years. I walked into the arena with it in a bag.

They asked me what in the bag when I walk in. I showed it. They said have fun. After the first Wings goal, [and] after 5 octopus have been tossed, I threw mine. In my hand, asinine, walking from the upper deck to the lower, every guard and security person let me down and said go. I walked down 25 seats and tossed it on the ice during the stoppage after the goal and they were cheering me. All of a sudden, a guy from there said, You re going to jail. Come with me. Granted, not a thing happened to the prior folks, or any other game. I went down and was charged. Really, it s AN octopus in Detroit in a hockey game!

They kick me out, fined me $500 and I have to go to court. I paid $150 for my ticket [but] now will pay $500 more. That s $217 a period. When I asked the cops they were laughing and said [Commissioner Gary] Bettman started the rule at the start of the 2nd period. Really new rules. In between periods. Bettman, you are terrible. It s not an airplane. It s an octopus, although you wouldn t know [about] tradition. We are all Tommy B. UPDATE: The throwing of objects onto the ice surface is prohibited by the National Hockey League and persons caught doing so may be subject to prosecution for violating local and state laws.

It s not a new law в, which prohibits throwing objects on the playing area during sporting events в but the directive to enforce it came down Wednesday from the league. , who say that while they have no problems with the tradition, police supervisors were informed Wednesday night, either before or during the game, by League representatives that they don t want anything thrown on the ice. An officer has to witness the throw and nab the thrower on the spot, but it s something they can and will enforce. Apparently, distance from players is not an issue: any octopus on the ice is grounds for ejection and a fine.