Ice resurfacer on hockey rink

Red Wings Fans’ Weird Octopus Tradition Explained

The Red Wings are a professional ice hockey team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are a part of the Central Division of the National Hockey League and are also one of the league’s Original Six teams.

But, they’re also known for something else – For decades, die-hard Detroit fans have bought octopuses to throw on the ice at either the Joe Louis Arena, Olympia Stadium, or Little Caesars Arena.

It does raise the obvious question of – where did this octopus custom originate from? According to legend, the octopus’ eight tentacles reflect the eight playoff victories originally required to win the Stanley Cup, which is the National Hockey League’s final trophy.

The origins:

The popular Detroit octopus throw dates back to 1952, when Pete Cusimano, a fish shop owner, commemorated the first Red Wing score by tossing an octopus over onto ice during the third match of the championship series versus the Montreal Canadiens.

“The Wings won the game as well as the series, and Cusimano is said to have asserted that his sacrificed octopus played a role in the outcome. For years, Cusimano showed up with an octopus at each and every Wings home playoff game, firing it forward onto the ice at the first Red Wing score.

Over the years, this tradition has reduced somewhat though we still find the occasional fan sneaking in an octopus whenever they can. However, one thing’s for sure – this is one tradition that is absolutely unique and can’t be found anywhere else in the world!