Did you know that the Detroit Redwings' mascot is Al the OCTOPUS??? And, if you did know this, why the frick didn't you tell me???? (except for my friend rob, who did tell me about it--thanks rob!)
Apparently, there is a "tradition" that during Detroit playoff games, fans fling octopuses onto the ice after a goal is scored for good luck. I know, this is confounding. But apparently in 1952 two brothers who owned a fish market threw out the first octopus onto the ice, because they made the (totally natural) connection that the eight tentacles of the octopus symbolized the eight wins it would take to get the Stanley Cup.
Now the Redwings have Al the Octopus mascot, and here is some information from Al's Wiki page (I know--kids! don't quote wikipedia in your book reports!):
"The Octopus was eventually named 'Al' (after Joe Louis Arena building operations manager Al Sobotka), and every playoff year since, Al the Octopus gets raised to the rafters, when the Red Wings skate out onto the ice. As the years went on some modifications were made to Al, such as making it so his pupils light up red (blinking on and off), the adding of a large Red Wing Jersey to his body, and the removal of a tooth in order to give Al that "hockey player" look."
I love the fact that there was probably a whole meeting devoted to how to make a totally made up purple octopus have a more "hockey player" look. And then they were like, "Oh yeah, let's make his eyes blink on and off! Like real hockey players!"
Also, don't worry, people are still throwing real octopuses on the ice. According to a link on the Redwings site, in 1995 two dudes from another seafood company threw a 38 pound octopus onto the ice. And then the next year, they outdid themselves and threw on a 50 pounder on the ice. I wonder how they made it through security...
Here are some photos from the Redwing site (I like the fuzzy, wispy watercolored memories of octopus flinging days of yore style of these):
And then this one, which sort of makes me feel strange, like, wow, that guy is really gleefully swinging around that octopus carcass. And I suspect he would just as gleefully swing around a human head if it meant the Redwings would win:
After sitting at my desk trying to decide if this whole detroit thing is funny or disturbing, I might need a drink. Whatever the case, I think Detroit should be wondering right now if its economic problems might not be due to industrial outsourcing, but instead to a hex placed upon it by the cephalopod gods.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Posted by Jessica at 10:12 AM