If you’ve ever been to The Joe, you probably already know about Al. Al the Octopus, the Red Wings mascot, of course. One of the reasons we all love sports (and by sports, we obviously mean hockey) so much are all the traditions that are passed down through generations.
One of the most notable and perhaps oddest traditions in the NHL is Detroit’s Legend of the Octopus, where fans throw octopi onto the ice during Red Wings games. It’s slightly weird if you’ve never experienced it, but it’s good luck and who doesn’t want to win?
If you’re wondering how the tradition started, you can thank two Detroit brothers by the name of Pete and Jerry Cusimano. The Cusimano brothers were not only huge Red Wings fans but also storeowners in Detroit’s Eastern Market (click the link above to read the entire story on how the legend came to be on the Red Wings website).
The throwing of octopi on the ice has become a good luck charm for the team and fans love to partake in the tradition (not so much every game anymore, but definitely come Playoffs).
One Red Wings fan says, “You’ll see people throwing them onto the ice still, but it’s harder and harder to do so with the onset of new security. Basically, if you want to sneak an octopus into The Joe, you have to wrap it around your leg, tie it, and then cover it with your pants. I had a friend in college who used to partake in that,” Brian says. Sounds like a pretty in-depth process, but good luck is good luck.
For those who have never attended a game at The Joe, we’ll warn you – if you’re on the hunt for an actual mascot roaming the arena, you won’t find him. The Red Wings have one of the only mascots who is more of a fictional presence than an actual costume. You’ll see posters and t-shirts, but not an actual mascot that will throw a cake in your face. Costume or not, Al the Octopus is a legend in the eyes of Red Wings fans.
Have you taken part in the throwing of the octopi? Leave us a comment below if you have. What other weird sport’s traditions are there?