Eight-Legged Freaks: The Story Behind Detroit Red Wings’ Lucky Octopi

June 28th, 2010 by Paul Benvin Leave a reply »
Al Sobotka, an affable man if ever there was one, is the building operations manager for Olympia Entertainment and the guy that has the enviable task—in hockey circles anyway—of resurfacing the Joe Louis Arena ice.

Remember that song I Wanna Drive the Zamboni ?

Well Sobotka is living the dream my friends. He’s been taking laps around the ice surface on that Zamboni for nearly 30 years and is such a staple in Hockeytown, that folks arrive early on game night just to take pictures of him.

Hell, even the giant octopus that drops from the rafters before each and every Detroit home game is named after the guy. Now that’s respect.

You might not know his name, but chances are you’ve seen his face, because Al Sobotka is also the guy responsible for scooping dead octopi from the ice.

Not content to simply scoop-and-run though, Sobotka turned the gooey chore into a crowd pleasing photo-op by gripping the deceased cephalopods high above his head and twirling them with reckless abandon during playoff games.

As a matter of fact, the practice has even earned Sobotka a place in Colin Campbel ...

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