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Friday, May 23, 2008
Want to buy an octopus? Let's see some ID first

ESPN.com news services

You can buy an octopus next week at Wholey's Fish Market in Pittsburgh -- unless you're wearing Detroit Red Wings gear or otherwise let slip that you're visiting from Michigan for the game.

octopus
Red Wings fans take their octopus-throwing tradition seriously, as Joe Louis Arena building operations manager Al Sobotka shows during this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

Red Wings fans, known for their traditional octopus toss during the Stanley Cup playoffs, are welcome to buy any fish in the store, Dan Wholey, who owns the market, told the Detroit Free Press. But he won't sell them an octopus.

You see, Wholey does not want to see the Red Wings fans' tradition of flinging the eight-legged sea creatures carried out at Mellon Arena when the Pittsburgh Penguins host Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday and May 30.

The Stanley Cup finals begin Saturday in Detroit, with Game 2 on Monday.

"I have the utmost respect for all the people of Detroit," Wholey said, according to the report. "They are great citizens and great hockey fans, just like I am. But I'm a Penguins fan first and foremost and I want to see the Penguins win, period."

If that means checking ID and listening for customers with Midwestern accents, that's what he's willing to do.

"Anyone who comes in here with a Red Wings jersey, they're allowed to buy anything in the store, just not the octopus," he said.

The Detroit octopus-throwing tradition started in the 1950s, to symbolize the eight wins needed at the time to win the Stanley Cup.