DETROIT (WXYZ) - It has become tradition for Red Wings fans to throw an octopus onto the ice after a goal during the playoffs, but Wednesday night, it got a fan ejected and fined big bucks.
Tom Balish threw an octopus onto the ice in the second period of Wednesday's game. It was game one of round one against the Coyotes. He said after he did, security grabbed, took him to lock-up and had him issued a ticket.
"Above subject did throw an octopus onto the playing surface of a hockey game, is how it's stated," said Tom Balish. The shocked Canton man said he was told the fine was $500. He says no one warned him at the door when he showed several security guards the octopus in a clear bag.
"They asked me at the front door, sir what's in your bag. I showed the young lady and she said, come right in, come on in," said Balish.
When it came time to throw the sea creature, he said he was swinging it around his head while he ran to the glass.
"I walked past eight to nine guards who said, hurry up, go ahead, go down. When I was done the lady usher told me to go back to my seat," said Balish. "A man who liked like he was a security guard near the Phoenix bench came up to me then and said, Sir, you're going to jail!"
That's when Balish was escorted to the lock-up in Joe Louis Arena. He said security forced Detroit Police to issue him a ticket even though the officer did not want to. Then he was kicked out of the game. The guards told him the ticket was a $500 fine.
It's not unusual to see octopuses thrown during a Wings playoff game. Balish's was one of two thrown Wednesday night. Balish said he heard on a radio station that some of the Wings players are talking about paying the fine for him.
"It was nice to know the guys just cared," said Balish. The NHL issued a statement to Action News about the incident.
"NHL security did not direct that this person be arrested or ejected. We do have a prohibition against throwing things to the ice surface since this may cause a delay in game or injury to players or others working on the ice surface," said Frank Brown, Group Vice President of Media Relations.