I know the government has a big say in how professional sports operates, but I had no idea they’d taken full charge. That’s the only way to explain this bit of NHL idiocy…
Tonight the Detroit Red Wings play the Colorado Avalanche in game 1 of the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs. At Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the atmosphere will be slightly quelled.
There’s a tradition in Detroit of throwing an octopus on the ice during the playoffs (in the days the tradition started, it took eight playoff wins to claim the Cup, and octopus has… you get the symbolic point…). When that happens, Al Sobotka, the Joe Louis Arena Zamboni driver, goes out to remove the creature from the ice, and as he exits he swings it over his head, much to the delight of the roaring crowd.
As Mitch Albom points out in a column in today’s Detroit Free Press, Sobotka has now been prohibited from swinging the octopus over his head as he removes it from the ice — and if he does, he faces a $10,000 fine from the NHL.
Why? The NHL told the Free Press the reason: “Because matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice when he does it.”
So… it’s dangerous? God forbid a player trip over a chunk of tentacle on his way to crack somebody’s head open with a high-stick. Here’s a video of the famous 1997 Colorado/Detroit brawl — and another from 1998. Good thing there wasn’t any octopus on the ice or somebody may have gotten hurt!
What a joke.