The Tradition of the Octopus

I saw this article on Yahoo! today.  Frankly, it both disgusted and outraged me.  The article talks about the Detroit tradition of throwing an octopus onto the ice at Red Wings’ games, a roughly 60-year-old tradition symbolic of the eight wins needed to win the Stanley Cup.

I believe this is a Detroit coach swinging an octopus around his head. Image from

I get sports traditions.  I’m a sports fan myself, being a die-hard, from-birth University of Maryland fan (Go Terps!).  We have our own traditions.  I’m happy to report that we don’t throw terrapins, tortoises, or turtles onto our sports fields, dead or alive.  It’s just disgusting.

First, if the animal is alive, that’s pure cruelty.  I liken it to bear baiting.  The creature will likely die, especially if it’s a water animal like an octopus.  And if it’s dead–well, that’s just gross!  How is a dead animal indicative of sports fandom and victory??

In this case, I just don’t understand tradition.  I’m told that hockey fans are some of the most rabid fans in the sports world, and I can believe it.  But how has something like this lasted so long?  With all the heightened awareness about the fragility of ecosystems and animals, something like this still continues?  For something as stupid as a game?  Yes, it is a GAME, it is not life or death, no one will die because a team wins or loses.  It is ridiculous to me that innocent animals would die for something so ridiculous and passing as a game.

I fully support the NHL’s decision to limit the scope of this custom, regardless of their real reason for doing so.  Maybe it’s time Detroit found a new tradition.

Sorry for this rant.  And it’s not related to paganism, just the environment.  But it made me angry.


One response to “The Tradition of the Octopus

  1. I totally agree. This is vile. It is one thing to eat animals. I understand that, you eat to live. Add to that that an octopus is a really intelligent animal.

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