Octopuses, Beef & Other Items Hockey Fans Throw on the Ice

Red Wings Fans made it a habit to throw octopuses on the ice.
Red Wings Fans made it a habit to throw octopuses on the ice.
FRED TANNEAU, Getty Images

With the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, let's examine some of the various objects fans have hurled onto the ice.

1. Octopuses

On April 15, 1952, Red Wings fans and brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw an octopus on the ice at Detroit's Olympia Stadium. The eight tentacles on the octopus were symbolic of the eight wins needed to win the Stanley Cup at the time, when the league consisted of six teams and the playoff format was two best-of-seven series. The Red Wings swept the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens to win the Cup and a Detroit hockey tradition was born.

2. Hats

Starting in the first half of the 20th century, hat companies would give away fedoras to players who scored three goals in a game. According to a spokesman for the Hockey Hall of Fame, NHL fans started throwing hats on the ice to celebrate hat tricks in the 1970s.

3. Rubber Snakes

The most recent addition to this list was inspired by a hilarious internet campaign earlier this month. A Toronto Maple Leafs blogger launched the movement when he suggested, via Twitter, that Phoenix Coyotes blogger Travis Hair throw a rattlesnake onto the ice during Game 1 of the Coyotes' first-round playoff series against Detroit. Before long, #ThrowTheSnake was the top trending topic in Canada and Hair was reaching out to the team's marketing department about organizing a non-disruptive way to capitalize on the excitement. Hair suggested that fans be permitted to throw rubber snakes after warm-ups and before the Zamboni cleared the ice, but team officials wanted none of it. Anyone who threw a snake, they said, would be ejected. No matter, after the Coyotes' Keith Yandle scored to tie the game during the first period of Game 1, a rubber snake hit the ice."¨

4. Rats

On October 8, 1995, Florida Panthers winger Scott Mellanby was waiting in the dressing room at Miami Arena, ready to take the ice for the third-year franchise's home opener, when he spotted a rat moving across the floor. Perhaps acting on instinct, Mellanby unleashed a slap shot that killed the intruder, which was memorialized with the inscription R.I.P. RAT 1 on the wall above where it died. That night, Mellanby scored two goals in the Panthers' 4-3 win and Florida goalie John Vanbiesbrouck dubbed the feat a rat trick during the postgame press conference. A fan threw a plastic rat on the ice after a goal during one of the Panthers' next home games, and the custom eventually caught on. As the Panthers' wins continued to pile up, so too did the fake rodents.

During the Panthers' 1996 playoff run, a local supermarket baked rat-shaped cakes and Dan Marino's bar introduced a new drink, the Rat Shooter. Plastic rat reinforcements had to be shipped in to South Florida after the Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals against the Colorado Avalanche. Avs fans, who tossed rat traps on the ice during games in Denver, had the last laugh, as Colorado swept the series. The NHL introduced a new rule during the offseason that called for referees to issue the home team a bench minor penalty if fans ignored the public address announcer's warning and continued to throw objects onto the ice after a goal.

5. Alberta Beef

The first two slabs of Alberta beef landed on the ice at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena prior to the start of Game 2 of the 2006 first round Stanley Cup playoff series between the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers and the top-seeded Red Wings. "They threw the beef in Detroit, and we won," Oilers winger Georges Laraque told reporters after Edmonton won Game 2 to even the series. "I think it's an awesome idea. Edmonton has better fans than Detroit. What better way to rub it in their faces than by throwing a big Alberta steak onto the ice. It gets people revved up. We can associate it with winning and start a whole new tradition!"

Tossing Alberta beef—the perfect antidote to Detroit's octopus—onto the ice was Edmonton DJ Gary McLachlan's idea, and it didn't take long for the bizarre ritual to become associated with winning. The Oilers dispatched the Red Wings in six games and, with the beef raining down, advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. While attending Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., McLachlan was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for throwing a slab of beef onto the ice during the national anthem. "I hope they understand it was all in good fun," McLachlan said. "We weren't out to hurt anybody. I am hanging up the meat hook." The Oilers lost the series in seven games.

6. Leopard Shark

San Jose Sharks fans and cousins Ken Conroy and Mike Gaboury hatched a plan to mimic Detroit's octopus-throwing tradition by throwing a shark onto the ice when San Jose played the Red Wings in the first round of the 1994 playoffs. While the idea didn't materialize into action during that series, the duo vowed to make it happen the next time San Jose and Detroit met in the playoffs.

Flash forward to 2006. Conroy purchased Game 4 tickets in the lower bowl online and a pair of 4-foot leopard sharks from a San Francisco fishing pier. Conroy and his son used an elaborate process documented here to secure one of the sharks to Gaboury's back and the trio headed to the game. Gaboury, who wore a trench coat to help conceal the bulge the shark created, waited until the lights dimmed during pregame introductions to unwrap the shark and slide it under his seat. After the Sharks scored late in the first period, he handed the shark to Conroy, who moved to the aisle and prepared for the toss of his life. "I took about three steps and I just heaved it (with two hands) and it slides out to the blue line near the middle of the ice," said Conroy, who was escorted out of the arena by security. ""¦This thing was created to mock the Red Wings fans and it just grew into a challenge and adventure that could not be denied. It couldn't be passed up. We knew we just had to do it. It was just for fun."

7. Fish

On Jan. 6, 1973, Cornell upset top-ranked Harvard in a game that is remembered most, according to the Cornell Daily Sun, for the dead chicken that a Harvard fan tossed at Cornell goalie Dave Elenbaas. Big Red fans responded to the gesture, which mocked Cornell's agriculture college, by pelting Harvard players with fish before the start of the second period and tying a live chicken to Harvard's net during the schools' next meeting. Nearly 40 years later, the intense rivalry and Cornell's fish-throwing tradition persists.

8. Paper Airplanes

Not surprisingly, throwing objects on the ice predates even Detroit's famed octopus tradition. In 1944, Earl "The Iceman" Davis, who supervised a cleanup crew of 12 at Chicago Stadium, was featured in a national wire story on fan behavior at hockey games. "Hockey fans are the craziest people, of that I'm sure," Davis said. "They do not seem to know it's dangerous to throw things—that a player could break his leg on the junk they toss—and that we are breaking our backs picking it up. One night we scooped up 300 or 400 pennies, several dimes and nickels and a couple of quarters."

The biggest source of trash, however, was "paper airplanes made with painstaking care from programs by guys in the far, smoke-bound reaches of the upper gallery." These fans were known for picking a spot on the ice and betting who could sail their paper planes closest to the mark. In the same article, Blackhawks president Bill Tobin recalled the time that a fan in Montreal threw an alarm clock on the ice. "Thought it was time we woke up, I guess," he said.

fun

Elvis and Priscilla Presley's Mobile Home Is Hitting the Auction Block

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Want to live like The King? It might not be exactly what you had in mind, but the two-bedroom mobile home once owned by Elvis and Priscilla Presley is an important piece of Presley history—and it could be yours.

The 60-foot Delta mobile home, which was once stationed on Elvis’s Circle G Ranch near Graceland, will go under the hammer at the “Legends: Iconic Film & Music Memorabilia” sale hosted by GWS Auctions on August 25.

The mobile home
GWS Auctions

Inside the mobile home
GWS Auctions

Elvis used the mobile home as a getaway in the 1960s, and after he and Priscilla got married in Las Vegas in 1967, the newlyweds spent part of their honeymoon shacked up inside the ranch-on-wheels. Elvis also bought eight additional house trailers and placed them on his property to accommodate his “Memphis Mafia" entourage, according to the auction house.

The mobile home was recently restored, but it remains true to the original condition it was in when the Presleys lived there. It comes with the original paperwork and bill of sale, which was signed by Elvis in 1967. Last year, GWS also auctioned off Presley’s childhood home in Mississippi.

Also up for grabs in the “Legends” auction is Elvis’s Gideon Bible, with passages that he personally underlined, as well as his beloved 1977 Cadillac Seville. Michael Jackson’s bejeweled glove, an invitation to the wedding of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, and a Munchkin coat made for The Wizard of Oz are among some of the many other pop culture treasures that could be yours.

10 Iconic Pieces of Movie History That You Can Own

Prop Store
Prop Store

Over 600 rare movie props and costumes that were once used by some of Hollywood’s leading actors will be up for grabs at the Prop Store’s upcoming Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction, which will be held in London on September 20. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the items that will be going under the hammer:

1. HAN SOLO'S JACKET

Han Solo's jacket
Prop Store

Estimate: $661,000-$1.3 million

Anything that was once worn by Harrison Ford is bound to be cool, but the sleek, slate grey jacket that he wore in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) wouldn’t look out of place at a modern-day concert or art gallery. Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to wear a potentially million-dollar jacket around town, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

2. CATWOMAN'S CORSET

Catwoman's corset
Prop Store

Estimate: $3,970-6,620

Michelle Pfeiffer wasn't the first actress to play Catwoman, but she did give the villain-slash-superhero a sultry, red-lipsticked look. This corset worn by Pfeiffer probably isn't the most comfortable attire for defeating nemeses, but it is an iconic piece of movie memorabilia.  

3. THE BACK TO THE FUTURE HOVERBOARD

A hoverboard
Prop Store

Estimate: $39,680-$66,140

Many people hoped we'd have hoverboards and flying cars by now. Unfortunately, that has yet to become a reality, but you can still take home this retro, neon-colored hoverboard prop used in Back to the Future II (1989). 

4. TYLER DURDEN'S FIGHT CLUB ROBE

Tyler Durden's robe
Prop Store

Estimate: $12,750-$19,130

In his role as Tyler Durden in the 1999 movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt is seen wearing this item—a deliberately worn and stained robe adorned with steaming coffee mugs—a design that "befits Tyler’s eclectic aesthetic,” according to the listing on the Prop Store’s website.

5. INDIANA JONES'S FEDORA 

A fedora
Prop Store

Estimate: $265,000-$397,000

Again, you can’t go wrong with a piece of Harrison Ford memorabilia. Fedoras may have fallen out of fashion, but it will always be the perfect hat for raiding temples, escaping booby traps, and saving the day. Also up for grabs is Indy’s bullwhip from Temple of Doom (1984), which is expected to sell for upwards of $66,000.

6. THE JUMANJI BOARD GAME

The Jumanji game
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,200-$12,760

Fear not—it’s just an empty case. According to Prop Store, several “static versions” of the board game were used for stunts in the 1995 film, as well as scenes in which actors carried the game around. Although the front of the game looks like it's made of ivory, it is actually cast in resin.

7. OLLIVANDER'S WAND BOXES

A wand box
Prop Store

Estimate: $510-$765

Wingardium leviosa! You won’t need a spell to bring these wand boxes back to your home—just a few hundred dollars lying around. The lot comes with two wand boxes that appeared in a scene showing Ollivander’s wand shop in the film Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The boxes were given to fans who attended the movie’s premiere at London's Leicester Square in 2001.

8. ROSE'S FAREWELL NOTE IN TITANIC

A letter from Titanic
Prop Store

Estimate: $5000-$8000

This simple, handwritten farewell note that Rose (Kate Winslet) gave to her fiance Cal (Billy Zane) before running away with Jack could fetch thousands of dollars. As fans of Titanic may remember, it reads, “Darling now you can keep us both locked in your safe.” It's still one of the best burns in movie history. 

9. LEGOLAS'S ARROW

An arrow
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,580-$13,230

Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings saga, was one sharp shooter. Now you can get your hands on the Lothlórien arrow that he used—but if you want to shoot like an elf, you may want to brush up on your archery skills first.  

10. AGENT J'S NOISY CRICKET

A gun from Men in Black
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,500-$15,800

This weapon is the first one given to Agent J (Will Smith) when he joins the Men in Black in the 1997 blockbuster. Although he was initially disappointed by its small size, “he later discovered that it packed quite a punch,” according to the Prop Store. The replica gun lights up when you pull the trigger.

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