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The Malik Report

Throwing an octopus in Detroit doesn’t just result in a $500 fine—it’s a misdemeanor

Updated at 10:57 PM with a written story from WDIV: I had planned on getting a little pre-doubleheader nap and was watching WDIV Local 4’s evening news when I shook myself up with a start, because WDIV reported that a second Red Wings fan had his day in court after throwing an octopus, and as it turns out, the new City of Detroit rule against throwing octopi, c.i. 38-5-4, is not like a traffic ticket for going 10 over the speed limit, the kind of civil infraction where you can just pay your fine and go on your way.

The City of Detroit’s $500 fine comes with a disorderly conduct charge on the side. In other words, it’s a misdemeanor, and if you throw an octopus at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Police won’t look the other way just because you’re a Red Wings fan, nor will they look the other way if you, as the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa suggested, show good taste in the timing of your octopus throw.

You will be charged with a misdemeanor, you’re going to be tried in court, and you will face possibly paying court costs, community service, and possibly even jail time if you tick off the judge who sentences you for a charge that’s hard to disprove. Just as importantly, you’re all but certain to be not only removed from the game you’re attending, but also booked (and possibly even have a mugshot taken) at the main police department branch on Beaubien Street.

The Wings fan in question wore his Lidstrom jersey to the court date, and he told WDIV that he’s “laywering up” for his July trial after not pleading guilty, but this makes it official—unless you’re willing to both pay a $500 fine and have a misdemeanor on your criminal record, you’d better not throw an octopus in Detroit. The NHL has officially extinguished the tradition.

You can, of course, still buy Al the Octopus merchandise from the Wings, who simply rolled over and chose not to comment on the NHL’s enlistment of the City of Detroit and Detroit Police in squelching the tradition via a cash grab which now includes asking the City of Detroit to spend valuable taxpayer dollars trying you for daring to throw a cephalopod.

Thanks, Gary Bettman. Nice job. [edit: And thanks, City of Detroit, for going after an easy cash grab. Did the Wings give you their blessing?]

Update: here’s the video of Karen Drew’s report. The fan’s name is Charlie Graves, and he was charged on March 22nd for throwing an octopus against the Penguins, and was confronted by JOE LOUIS ARENA USHERS and TURNED INTO THE POLICE. That means the obvious—ushers have been instructed by either the NHL or the Red Wings, if not both, to turn octopus-throwers in, and this rule went into place far before the playoffs began…And the Wings chose not to inform their fans. Shame on them. Shame on them.

Update 10:57 PM: From WDIV:

The Farmington man who was fined by the NHL for throwing an octopus on the ice during a Detroit Red Wings game is charged with disorderly conduct. The NHL fined Charlie Graves $500 after he admitted to ushers that he threw an octopus on the Joe Louis Arena ice during a March 21 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There is a Detroit city ordinance against throwing objects on the arena ice during games. Graves pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a disorderly conduct charge.

“It is a 50-something-odd-year tradition,” Graves said. “I feel the city of Detroit takes pride in their tradition, and if the (NHL) commissioner thinks we are going to go down without a fight, he is wrong.”

An octopus was tossed on the ice during a Red Wings first-round playoff game this month. The man who threw that octopus also was charged with disorderly conduct and fined $500 by the NHL. Graves said he will fight the charge in support of the tradition. .

“I pleaded not guilty, of course,” Graves said. “I’m going to fight for this tradition. And so, I have to come back in July for a trial, and I’ll be lawyered up.”

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Comments

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Avatar

Dude…  April 1st is long gone
This just cant be true

I dont really understand why no one is making a big deal out of this…  How come no large news media has come with an article about this, yet?

Most I’ve seen I think was a very little something in a blog on TSN, Im not sure

Posted by Zqto from Brasil on 04/26/11 at 07:55 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I think some of your disdain is misguided. It isn’t the NHL that is tacking on the misdemeanor offense, it’s the city of Detroit. The home of the Red wings. If our own home won’t support the tradition…  That sits squarely on the shoulders of one mayor Dave Bing, former NBA player.

I also find it ridiculous, in light of the rampant violent crime that takes place within city limits, that the DPD has the time and the resources to spend enforcing such paltry offenses. It’s a money grab, and I expect it to backfire.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 04/26/11 at 08:02 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

what amazes me is that the Detroit Police and the courts are NOT giving the “offenders” a wink-and-a-smile.  aren’t there any Wings fans in the justice system in Detroit?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/26/11 at 08:02 PM ET

Avatar

What the Wings should do is arrange to have a “celebrity Octopus thrower” at the beginning of each game either from the bench area or end of the ice where Al spins it around.  It will be like the ceromonial first pitch at a baseball game.

You are telling me they couldn’t get Kid Rock to toss an octopus at a playoff game?

Do it for the children!

Posted by Jon from Chicago,IL on 04/26/11 at 08:05 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I would boycot buying any Al gear and encourage ALL wings fans NOT to…. the culpibility is on the Orgin-I-zation.  They’re on board with all this, and they opted not to tell us because what if people stopped buying the merch.. well, make their fears a reality.  Granted it isn’t a lot of money, but any little bit I can save for myself vs. buying octopi gear I can’t throw? What else would I do with it?! Eat it?! I’m not Malik.  BOYCOT BIG AL MERCHENDISE AND MAKE THE KILLING OF OUR TRADITIONS OFFICIAL. 

Probably just a matter of time before Hat Trick Hats are banned and made a misdomeanor…

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/26/11 at 08:11 PM ET

Avatar

this is one of the most dissapointing things i have ever heard

Posted by Joe from NY on 04/26/11 at 08:14 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Ridiculous.  And disappointing to the extreme.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/26/11 at 08:25 PM ET

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the worst part is everyone in the media is being mum on the issue. i would really like to see people overwhelm the red wings organization and the city of detroit with their displeasure

Posted by joe from NY on 04/26/11 at 08:26 PM ET

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George, do not be surprised at the length the City Of Detroit will go to make a buck. I myself have had the City charge me and a bunch of hipsters with an unfounded misdemeanor. Thankfully the ACLU stepped up and delivered a knockout blow to the city. Never the less the Wings are responsible for not letting the fans know of the consequences of chucking octopi, or putting on a bigger fight with that little midget dick Gary.

Posted by Rmac111 on 04/26/11 at 08:28 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

The tradition will live on regardless of any law on the books.

This tradition will not go away.

This tradition will endure.

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/26/11 at 08:29 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

I have to wonder how much the Joe being owned by the city plays into this.  Regardless, it is very disappointing that the city would decide to enforce this after turning a blind eye to this tradition for decades.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 04/26/11 at 08:37 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

this is one of the most dissapointing things i have ever heard
Posted by Joe from NY on 04/26/11 at 06:14 PM ET

My thoughts exactly…

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/26/11 at 08:40 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

That’s just sad. Damn…

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/26/11 at 09:08 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

What the Wings should do is arrange to have a “celebrity Octopus thrower” at the beginning of each game

That’s actually not a half bad idea.

Regardless, I am very disappointed in all parties involved. Way to ruin something awesome.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/26/11 at 09:11 PM ET

Crow's avatar

The DEEEETroit POOOlice already stated that they could not enforce this during hat tricks due to the shear volume of the fans participating.  Therefore, if the same principle was applied to the octopus situation, we can have a plethora of calamari on the ice.  cheese

If Gary Ass does happen to be at the Joe during this playoffs, I hope someone will be nice enough to share some fresh calamari with him. tongue wink

Posted by Crow on 04/26/11 at 09:24 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

Allright.  I’ve had enough.  It’s time for action.  Let’s get Gary Bettman’s address at NHL Headquarters and start mailing that little bastard octopi.  Stinky, rotten octopi.

You don’t f*cking mess with Detroit tradition.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 04/26/11 at 09:32 PM ET

Avatar

How is a Detroit law Gary Bettman’s fault? Is there anything hockey
“fans” won’t blame him for?

Posted by NedSparks on 04/26/11 at 09:39 PM ET

Avatar

What a pile!  The Wings can take their “Al” gear and stick up Lil Gary!

Posted by Steve on 04/26/11 at 09:47 PM ET

pensfan29's avatar

I think its funny all of you were screaming at Bettman when this story first broke. Now you are blaming the mayor, police, ushers, etc. Its a money grab by the city. Nothing more. Bettman has nothing to do with this, otherwise it would have been enforced years ago.

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/26/11 at 09:58 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Quite frankly I think it is a Stupid “Tradition” because it no longer takes 8 games to win the cup

Posted by Evilpens on 04/26/11 at 10:11 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Quite frankly I think it is a Stupid “Tradition” because it no longer takes 8 games to win the cup

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/26/11 at 10:24 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

lmao guilherme


we don’t care what other teams or cities think about our traditions.. Popular approval isn’t the point.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/26/11 at 10:35 PM ET

Bent's avatar

Hmm jury trial, I sure hope the jury is full of wings fans.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 04/26/11 at 10:37 PM ET

Avatar

I’m sorry to see this tradition go but is a $500 fine really a cash grab?  I just don’t see money as the reason.

Posted by LumberingD from Edmonton on 04/26/11 at 11:31 PM ET

Avatar

Quite frankly I think it is a Stupid “Tradition” because it no longer takes 8 games to win the cup

Right…it takes 16 games…which is two octopuses…do the math.

Posted by BuzzFledderjohn on 04/27/11 at 12:17 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Bettman has nothing to do with this?

Are you kidding? This law *wasn’t on the books* until the NHL stepped in.

This has Bettman and the NHL written all over it. It’s certainly the mayor, the City of Detroit, the Detroit Police and the Red Wings in the equation now, but the City and Police wouldn’t have done this without the encouragement of the mayor.

As for the Joe being owned by Detroit, the police do provide free security for the Joe as the team’s previous lease has been extended, but the ushers are employed by the Joe Louis Arena/Olympia Entertainment, not the City or Police.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/27/11 at 12:38 AM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 04/26/11 at 08:11 PM ET

Who cares what you think. 

Someone in the Detroit government or police department gave the order to enforce this, forget blaming the NHL, that’s a smoke screen.  You want this to change?  Pressure the local media to get answers.  Write letters.  If you live in the city?  Send the mayor a letter and tell him how you feel.  Make it clear that you’ll vote for his opposition.  Send letters to your city council as well. 

We have voices, we need to use them.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 04/27/11 at 12:39 AM ET

Avatar

If you live in the city?  Send the mayor a letter and tell him how you feel.  Make it clear that you’ll vote for his opposition.

Is Detroit really such a utopia that people would vote against a guy solely for his administration enforcing a ridiculous law?  I’m sure there are bigger issues in the city.

Posted by yayamo on 04/27/11 at 12:53 AM ET

pensfan29's avatar

Are you kidding? This law *wasn’t on the books* until the NHL stepped in.

Sorry George, i must have been asleep that day in law school when you heard the teacher tell you that private companies or organizations (ie NHL) had the power to tell the police and city what laws to enforce.

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/27/11 at 12:53 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Sorry George, i must have been asleep that day in law school when you heard the teacher tell you that private companies or organizations (ie NHL) had the power to tell the police and city what laws to enforce.

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/26/11 at 10:53 PM ET

You mean the day that a very large private organization that’s run entirely by lawyers threatened to make headaches for a city that’s already awash in problems in order to get them to capitulate?

They don’t have the power to OUTRIGHT tell the city of Detroit which of its own laws to enforce, just like the federal government didn’t have the power to tell states to set their speed limits at 55.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/27/11 at 01:11 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Or just like the NFL didn’t have the power to kill legislation in California aimed at taxing the retirement benefits of non-California retired military members?

Or how the NFL didn’t have the power to tell the state of Tennessee to exempt the Titans and all 30 of their member organizations from a luxury tax that charges professional athletes $2,500 per game (max $7,500) for playing a professional game in their state?

How many days of law school did you miss?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/27/11 at 01:16 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

really. When Puck Daddy looked at the legal books there was no 38-5-4 on the civil infractions list. This is a cash grab, encouraged by the NHL.

And yes, there are far, far, far more important issues in this world, never mind the City of Detroit, which has a $155 million budget deficit and whose schools are nearly insolvent, than simply throwing octopi.

The Free Press’s Mike Thompson put it best:

Every city has its traditions. People who aren’t from a given city can’t really grasp the importance of its’ traditions, nor fully understand why folks in a city get peeved when an outsider messes with their local traditions. So it’s no wonder that metro Detroit, a region that has lost so much in recent decades and has seen so much upheaval, has reacted angrily to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to mess with one of our cherished local traditions. Our traditions ground us; they connect us with the past and help bring us together during rough times, and no place in America has been through rougher times than Detroit.

Traditions are important, traditions matter, and for Bettman to suddenly and capriciously announce that he wants to effectively end one in a city where the local hockey team’s success has been one of the few bright spots, smacks of pettiness.

I’m sure this controversy sounds like much ado about nothing to people who aren’t from metro Detroit – especially considering all the problems confronting our region and the world. But those problems are the reason we seek the stability that traditions offer.

This is not the end of the world, but it’s an insult to Red Wings fans and a 59-year-old tradition, and there’s something to be said for allowing people to feel upset about being denied the ability to do something that even their team feels is so integral to the Red Wings’ playoff traditions that it hoists a giant inflatable Al the Octopus to the rafters before every playoff game.

We’re allowed to be pissed off. You’re allowed to not get it and tell us that we’re being silly. Maybe we are, but we tend to think that our city was prompted by the NHL to make an easy $500 and waste some taxpayer dollars by charging people with a misdemeanor offense and court costs because they threw an octopus on the ice.

If our tradition is “dumb,” that’s even more stupid than our tradition.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/27/11 at 01:16 AM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/26/11 at 11:16 PM ET

Well said George, well said.

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/27/11 at 01:26 AM ET

pensfan29's avatar

JJ. Threatened how? What can the NHL do to Detroit if they dont comply? The NHL isnt a mafia last I checked. Bettman didnt threaten to “off” anyone for not complying.

And not all states have a 55mph limit. I believe West Virginia is 75

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/27/11 at 01:36 AM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

well the NHL obviously takes pride in it too its one of their historical moments that you can vote for on their web site ...  come on City of Detroit !!!  this is plain rediculous and yes the Wings organization should have informed their fans

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 04/27/11 at 01:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

JJ. Threatened how? What can the NHL do to Detroit if they dont comply? The NHL isnt a mafia last I checked. Bettman didnt threaten to “off” anyone for not complying.

And not all states have a 55mph limit. I believe West Virginia is 75

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/26/11 at 11:36 PM ET

So aside from skipping law courses, you also fell asleep in history class?  Go look up the reason there used to be a “national” speed limit.

Put simply, the NHL can pull all sorts of awesome pain-in-the-ass tactics to make the city of Detroit’s life miserable if they fail to comply with their own laws.  It’s not easy to sue a city, but they can.  Even if the NHL wouldn’t be able to “win” a lawsuit, the fact that Detroit would have to use their resources to fight such a threat would be more trouble than the city wants to deal with.

I don’t know if there’s a fancy pharmacists term for it, but trial lawyers pull that shit all the time to get people to settle things without going to trial.  If I had to name it, I would call it “bullying”.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/27/11 at 01:53 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Aw hell, c’mon Wings.  The NHL already leeches about 50% of your playoff gate just to support the shitty hockey markets like in NSH, FLA, ATL, and fuching PHX and you’re just gonna take it up the ass…AGAIN?

Stand the fuch up.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/27/11 at 01:56 AM ET

Beatrain's avatar

Sorry, but just to add to JJ’s argument: One need not be Mafia or violent to influence government, look at the FBI enforcing MPAA copyright on internet downloaders. There is no public service here, just a federal operation for big corporations. Obviously private entities that have considerable monetary leverage (PACs, etc) can influence public policy even though the populace as a whole doesn’t demand it.  For further reading, I suggest you look into the reason that seatbelts are required and hunting licenses are increased in number (both at the behest of insurance PACs). You don’t think that big private corporations are behind political election campaigns and efforts to scupper certain public policy that will severely impact their income (Health care, etc)? I suppose being a Pens fan made you want to sleep through a lot of your life, no wonder you missed all those days in law school.

Posted by Beatrain on 04/27/11 at 02:15 AM ET

Norskirama's avatar

Wing fans need to unite and have there be so many octopi on the ice there is no way the authorities can arrest everyone.

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 04/27/11 at 03:10 AM ET

calquake's avatar

The terrorists have won.

Posted by calquake on 04/27/11 at 03:37 AM 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.