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Octopus abuse, a sickening hockey “tradition” – please sign petition to end this!

Detroit Red Wings Octopus Abuse

The Detroit Red Wings have a sickening long-standing tradition: at home playoff games, fans throw octopuses onto the ice.

Horrifyingly, this abuse has been going on for 70 years with limited intervention.


Some other professional hockey teams also tolerate the practice of throwing animals onto the hockey rink. In most cases, the animals are already dead, but sometimes live animals are thrown onto the ice.


The Detroit Red Wings octopus abuse is viewed as a valued “tradition.”

Octopus under water
Octopuses are amazing creatures who are worthy of respect!

History of Detroit Red Wings Octopus Abuse

The first body of an octopus was hurled onto the ice by fans in 1952.


In order to capture the Stanley Cup, which is the championship trophy awarded to the playoff champion of the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings would need 8 playoff wins to win the Stanley Cup.


As an octopus has 8 arms, this came to symbolize the number of wins needed.


Detroit Red Wings Octopus Abuse…. Fans Support?

Disturbingly, many fans are in full support of this horrifying abuse of octopuses at Detroit Red Wings games.


In a 2011 article, Mike Suggs writes:

“This tradition is a harmless one, and why the NHL feels the need to be so overbearing about it is beyond me …. The throwing of the octopus is in the same vain [sic] as saying "Let's Go Red Wings!" It's just to inspire the team and get the crowd going, which if I'm not mistaken, is a huge part of playoff hockey.”


How is “chanting for your team” comparable to tossing animals?


The Detroit Red Wings’ octopus abuse is pure animal cruelty.


Person playing ice hockey
The Detroit Red Wings home-playoff hockey games have a disturbing "tradition..."

What’s being done to stop the Detroit Red Wings Octopus Abuse?


The octopus abuse at Detroit Red Wings games is illegal. However, fans are rarely held accountable, and meaningful action has not been taken.


In a 2017 incident, fan Nick Horvath was escorted out of the stadium and was informed he would be banned for life after throwing the octopus. According to online accounts, he has not been banned.


Abuse of animals is commonplace.


It should go without saying that killing animals and throwing their bodies is never justified. And throwing live animals onto a hockey rink is extremely cruel.


Unfortunately, humans engage in many disturbing traditions involving animal abuse. Abusing animals is tragically normalized in our society.


No animal deserves to be treated with such blatant cruelty.


So let’s take action!


Take Action for Octopuses

To see what this abuse looks like, click the "Take action for octopuses" button to watch a short video. Then please sign the petition to make your voice heard. Your message will be emailed to Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League. Thank you!


Octopuses are amazing


Octopuses are full of incredible skills, mind-blowing powers, and fascinating tricks!


First, let’s clear something up: the preferred plural of octopus is “octopuses,” and not octopi. Since the word “octopus” has Greek origins and not Latin origins, the plural is octopuses.


Octopus under the water
Octopuses are full of fascinating tricks!

Second: we support rescuing injured wildlife and helping keep them out of danger. But we do not promote keeping wild animals in captivity. Wild animals belong in the wild, and their habitat should be protected. Yes, animal behavior is interesting and important to learn about, but no animals should be harmed in the process. ThinkJane Goodall”!


Anyways, back to the cool stuff!


  1. Octopuses use tools! Tool use is considered to be a valuable and impressive skill in the animal kingdom. A 2009 paper described how octopuses off the coast of Indonesia used coconuts to create shelters! This puts octopuses in the same tool-using group as other intelligent animals, such as chimpanzees, elephants, and humans.

  2. Octopuses are known to be quite mischievous. One octopus stole the camera of filmmaker/scuba diver Victor Huang!

  3. Octopuses can open things like jars and bottles! So far, they are the only marine animal known to have the strength and perception to be able to do this.

  4. The 8 arms of an octopus have minds of their own. Octopuses are cephalopods, which means they have multiple neuron clusters throughout their bodies instead of the highly centralized nervous systems that animals like humans have. This means that octopus arms can make decisions separate from the brain of the octopus. To put it more simply: octopuses have 9 brains!

  5. Octopuses are true masters of camouflage. They can transform in color, texture, and shape!

  6. Octopuses have three hearts!


Want to learn more about the incredible octopus?


There are lots of amazing resources to learn more about these phenomenal beings!


The Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher (2020) explores a remarkable relationship between a man and an octopus. You can watch this film on Netflix!


There are many books exploring in depth just how unique octopuses are. The Soul of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery, Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith, and Monarchs of the Sea by Danna Staaf are just a handful of options!


How else can I advocate for octopuses?

One key area that octopuses are abused is for food.


In some countries, such as South Korea and Japan, live octopus is viewed as a culinary delicacy. Octopuses will be chopped up and eaten while they are still alive.


Unfortunately, octopuses are eaten in the U.S., too. The good news: plant-based alternatives are rapidly developing! If you Google “plant-based octopus,” you will be met with countless delicious recipes.

Dead octopus on plate
Octopuses are NOT food.


Octopuses deserve respect!

The fact that throwing around dead bodies -- or even live animals -- is considered a “tradition” is disturbing.


PLEASE take action. Sign and share this petition https://www.600milliondogs.org/octopus-petition with friends and family!


End the Detroit Red Wings’ disgusting practice of octopus abuse!



P.S. Wait – what does cruelty to octopuses have to do with birth control for dogs and cats? It doesn’t, but octopuses are being abused, and we are against cruelty to all animals. To see how we spend the vast majority of our time, please visit the rest of our website!



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