"The Motor City's proud tradition of saluting the Detroit Red Wings with slimy creatures of the deep dates back over half a century.
The first octopus landed on the ice during the Red Wings' 1952 Stanley Cup run, courtesy of brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who owned a fish market. If you know your cephalopods, you will know that an octopus has eight tentacles. In those days it took eight playoff wins to claim the Cup, hence the supposed symbolism of the gesture.
The Red Wings were perfect in the '52 playoffs, sweeping the semifinal and the final in straight games. The octopus has been a good luck charm ever since.
By 1995, the team had adopted the tradition by introducing a mascot, Al the Octopus. Al is raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena before every home playoff game, and used in team merchandising and promotion."
WXYZ: Detroit Red Wings Octopus Debate [video [01:41].
NPR: Detroit Red Wings' Good-Luck Charm? The Octopus [audio | 03:29].
"There is a certain etiquette that must be followed for fans that wish to throw octopuses onto the ice.
Beforehand, an octopus should be boiled for at least 20 minutes on high heat with a little lemon juice and white wine. This will mask the creature's odor as well as reducing the amount of slime. A raw dead thrown octopus would result in a smelly ball that would stick to the ice upon impact and possibly leave an inky stain, while a well-boiled octopus will bounce and roll across the surface of the ice.
After the octopus has been properly prepared it must be smuggled into the ice arena, as it is against the law in Detroit (and other NHL cities) for a fan to throw anything onto the ice during a game. A preferred method is to wrap the octopus in plastic (a trash bag or a large Ziploc bag will do) and then wrap the package around one's middle section to give the appearance of a beer belly.
The most appropriate time to throw an octopus onto the ice is after the national anthem is sung or after the Red Wings have scored a goal. The octopus must be thrown onto the ice surface in an area that is clear of all players. It is never acceptable to aim for opposing players. Tactics are also used to protect the identity of octopus-throwers from arena security. It is common practice for the hurler to ask the surrounding people to stand up with him to shroud the task in anonymity.
Experienced throwers grasp the octopus around the middle of its arms with the octopus's head (or more correctly, its mantle) hanging down near the thrower's knee and then swings the octopus with an overarm motion. Holding the octopus by the ends of its arms prior to the throw may result in the mantle of the octopus breaking off during the wind-up.
After successfully participating in this peculiar tradition, the octopus thrower is left with a tell-tale indicator: stinky hands. It is advisable to bring along a wet wipe and a slice of lemon to assist in removing the odor."
"English words of Latin or Greek origin have rather unpredictable plurals, and each one usually depends on how well established that particular word is. It may also depend on whether the Latin or Greek form of the plural is either easily recognizable or pleasant to the speaker of English.
AIK club management was aware of their fans’ plans for knocking Huokko off his game, but elected not to intervene. “We’d also heard mention of it, but we decided that it would only be worse if we went out and told the fans they were absolutely not allowed to throw dildos on the ice,” said AIK club head Mats Hedenström to the newspaper.
"...octopi is not the preferred spelling. It is not a spelling at all. The word does not exist, except in the mouths of those who are pretending to be educated but in fact are not. ... Instead, the syllable pus in octopus is the Greek word for 'foot.' And it forms its plural the Greek way. Therefore octopoda, not octopi. Never octopi."
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