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Red Wings fan facing lifetime ban after being first to toss octopus at new arena

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 10/12/2017 Steve DelVecchio
Oct 5, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings celebrate after defeating Minnesota Wild at Little Caesars Arena. © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Oct 5, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings celebrate after defeating Minnesota Wild at Little Caesars Arena.

It did not take long for the tradition of the octopus toss to continue when the Detroit Red Wings opened their new arena this season, but the fan responsible for keeping it alive may never be welcome back at a game.

Nick Horvarth told CBC News that he was ejected from last week’s home opener at Little Caesars Arena and told he is not welcome back after he threw an octopus onto the ice.

“The crowd was going nuts,” Horvath said. “As they were escorting me out people were booing them, ‘Let him go!’ People were high-fiving me, giving me spanks on the butt, slaps on the butt … everyone loved it.””

Unfortunately, arena security was not as receptive to the act, which became a tradition for Red Wings fans 65 years ago. Horvarth said he was told he can never return to a Red Wings home game.

“The two supervisors of security told me I’m done,” he said. “I think it’s very stiff. If they want to fine me I understand, if they wanted to ban me for a year … I can deal with that, but to get banned forever? That can’t happen.”

Horvarth, who is covered in Red Wings-themed tattoos, said he has been to hundreds of games over the years. He went to great lengths to smuggle the octopus into last Thursday’s game for the chance to make history, strapping the fish to his stomach and hiding it under a sweatshirt.

The first octopus was thrown onto the ice at a Red Wings game during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 1952. At the time, eight wins were needed in the playoffs to capture a championship. The eight legs on the octopus represented each win the team needed.

Since then, hundreds of octopi have been hurled onto the ice. If you remember, the NHL started cracking down on the tradition several years back. A lifetime ban seems harsh for carrying out a harmless tradition.

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BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 20: Evander Kane #9 of the Buffalo Sabres looks to deflect a shot against Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game on October 20, 2017 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) 2017-18 NHL season
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