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Throwing an octopus in Detroit = a $500 fine and jail?

Update: the Free Press has picked up on the story: Via On the Wings’ Matt Saler (blog link), The Hockey Writers’ Monica McAlister (blog/article link) and, well, Deadspin‘s Brian Hickney is reporting—and reputably so, with visual proof—that if you throw an octopus at Joe Louis Arena, during a Red Wings game, you will be ejected, fined $500, face a court hearing, and possibly sent to jail if you do not pay $150 to the Detroit Police department, for, and I quote from the ticket…

“Throwing an object which would cause injury onto the playing field of an athletic contest.”

According to both the person who was charged, one Tommy B., and Ms. McAlister, the new ruling is that you will be fined $500 if caught in the act of throwing an octopus by Joe Louis Arena’s security guards. Whether this new fine is being enacted by the city to bump up ticket revenues or whether the NHL pressured the Wings into enforcing it, we don’t know yet. Given that it’s a police citation, I would strongly suggest that this is a City of Detroit issue.

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Gabriel's avatar

George, I can’t imagine any politician doing anything quite so unpopular for so little money.  This has Bettman and his “flying bits of octopus debris” bullshit written all over it. The Wings were likely risking a fine for failing to enforce Napolean’s new law.

Posted by Gabriel from San Diego, CA on 04/14/11 at 10:15 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

Alright who’s starting the fund? I’ve got $50 (CAD which is worth MORE for the time begin!) I’m willing to put towards paying the fees.

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/14/11 at 10:46 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Is the H2H account still active to take donations to pay these fines? I’d throw a few ducats in the bucket.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/14/11 at 10:55 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

This has to be one of the dumbest things ever.  This is sports and tradition.  If it was a bottle thrown at a player I could see it.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 04/14/11 at 10:57 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

60 years + without a harmful incident says this is bullshit.  It takes three seasons and buckets if blood for the league to even address headshots, but God forbid that a Red Wings fan throw an octopus on the ice.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/14/11 at 11:07 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

It’s a tradition ... and it is all ours!


Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/14/11 at 11:37 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Instead of the current NHL playoff campaign “history will be made”
I offer a few alternatives.

The NHL “Homogenizing out all hockey traditions since 2004”

The NHL “Where game presentation is the same in every arena”

Feel free to suggest some of your own.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/14/11 at 11:38 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

This is just me, I’m with Gabriel—I think that we’re talking about the City of Detroit being told to enforce a new rule.

The NHL most likely went over the Wings’ heads and went directly to the City of Detroit and Detroit Police, who are generally quite happy to collect money from its citizens for civil infractions.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/14/11 at 11:39 PM ET

Sal's avatar

And when did the Detroit Police Department become the private security force of a fascist little sports dictator?  Something here doesn’t add up.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 04/14/11 at 11:44 PM ET

SpaceCityHockey's avatar

So how do we go about getting a comment from the Wings Organization? It is their side of it I want to hear.  This has been going on for 60 years.  I am pretty sure they are proud of it.  If there is a fine to the organization I’ll chip in to help pay it.  This is ridiculous.

Posted by SpaceCityHockey from Houston, TX on 04/14/11 at 11:48 PM ET

SpaceCityHockey's avatar

Also if we can help out this guy who got arrested I’m in there as well.

Posted by SpaceCityHockey from Houston, TX on 04/14/11 at 11:48 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It does in Detroit, regrettably. That’s kind of how the CoD works.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/14/11 at 11:48 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I have asked the Wings and am going to ask the City obviously.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/14/11 at 11:58 PM ET

SpaceCityHockey's avatar

Cool, thanks George. You are the man.

Posted by SpaceCityHockey from Houston, TX on 04/14/11 at 11:59 PM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

Hmmm…I’d drag a BS charge out in court as long as I could. Clearly the city of Detroit isn’t interested in respectable traditions….I’ll bet if you threw Kwame Kilpatrick out onto the ice you would get a smaller fine and a bigger standing ovation! Heck, i might call my ugly sister, blind brother, or my ambulance chasing Dad to hucklebuck this biatch in the courts for a year or two….

Thanks, Gary, Ass.

Posted by The Hurricane on 04/15/11 at 02:09 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

City issue, clear as day, just another tax grab.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/15/11 at 08:36 AM ET


I would expect a LOT MORE octopus thrown in tomorrow’s game, after this

Wouldnt it be great to see 20, 30 on the ice, just after the final horn, so it doesnt have a chance to mess the ice so much?

Specially with a wings win!

Posted by Zqto from Brasil on 04/15/11 at 08:49 AM ET

Bent's avatar

What the fuch?  For real?  This is ridiculous.  When I read the headline I assumed it was a typo and George meant Phoenix, not Detroit.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 04/15/11 at 10:59 AM ET


Maybe the city should sell a license for people to throw octopi on ice!  After a small training course, you will learn how to pick a perfect ice octopus, select a region to throw it, and execute a safe throw!

Posted by steve on 04/15/11 at 12:42 PM ET

Bradley97's avatar

This makes me sick. The NHL and Detroit owe the Wings and their fans far too much to pull something like this. I understand issues with delay of game for clean up, but there are better rules that can be made and enforced without ticking off one of the largest fan bases in hockey.

For example, the Wings could make a rule that octopi can only be thrown at the end of the National Anthem and after each period buzzer. The cost for getting caught should be no more than a fine equal to the price on the ticket. The fine should go to Make a Wish or March of Dimes with no tax write off.

If something has to be done, and if I was an octopus tosser, I’d happily accept the consequences above. And maybe more people would toss octopi at those times to help raise money for those charities or any other charities the Wings organization wishes to include.

And if the octopi tosser refuses to pay, toss him/her from the game with no re-admittance, even if the person purchased an extra ticket in anticipation of the toss (something fans do in other cities all the time). We have a respectable fan base, and I doubt this would be an issue if handled correctly and in this manner. Too bad the Wings didn’t think of this before the NHL stepped over their heads with the Detroit Police. But even if they announced this right now it would make the NHL and the police look bad if the police fine continued to be enforced.

Of course this could be a late April Fools joke, especially if only two people are claiming it happened to them.

Posted by Bradley97 on 04/15/11 at 01:13 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

The wings could have posters encouraging people to boil the octopus first (less smell and no slime on a boiled mollusk), then there’s no delay of game.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/15/11 at 01:22 PM ET


Drew and Mike called the octopus tosser today and talked to him.  It was 2 NHL officials who caught the guy and brought him back to a private room in JLA with 2 DPD officers there.  The NHL officials wanted to press charges but the 2 cops just laughed at the NHL. 

One of the NHL officials said “I don’t know why people in Detroit like to throw things on the ice.”

The cops issued the guy a ticket after some pressure and kicked him out.  They also told him if the NHL asks, you went to jail.

This all the NHL’s (Bettman) doing and not the city.  This is what it sound like on the radio interview.

I’m just happy that they took care of this serious issue so they can focus their attention on less serious stuff like concussions.

Posted by dirtydeeds98 from Detroit on 04/15/11 at 01:50 PM ET


I have instructed the JLA ushers not to apprehend any octopi tossers. I have also asked the DPD officers who patrol JLA during games to henceforth remand any octopi tossers, who are turned over to DPD by NHL officials, to the new JLA detention sky box. Their punishment will be to sit in said sky box with Kenny Holland for the remainder of the game.

Posted by Mr. I. on 04/15/11 at 02:42 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.