Ultimate smuggler

Detroit Red Wings fan Nick Dinverno sneaked an octopus onto the ice -- twice

Originally Published: September 23, 2013
By Rachel Ullrich | ESPN The Magazine

Nick DinvernoJeremy Deputat for ESPNThe NFL's new rules on permissable bags are no match for Nick Dinverno.

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BAD NEWS, fanny pack fans (you know who you are): Earlier this year, the NFL implemented a stadium rule that limits permissible bags to those that are a) clear or b) no larger than a hand. So unless you're willing to buy one of these rare gems (surprise, a version is sold for $11.95 from official NFL merchandisers), you'll need to get creative. With that in mind, we turned to 26-year-old Red Wings fan Nick Dinverno, who has some experience smuggling goods into a stadium. Proudly upholding the storied Joe Louis Arena tradition, Dinverno has twice sneaked in an octopus to throw onto the ice. Now he talks us through the art of getting contraband past security (not that we're endorsing this kind of thing).

Step 1: Prepare your goods.
The first step for Dinverno involves a trip to his local Asian fish market for some octopus, which comes frozen in a block of ice. Once he's done chipping away at the giant cube -- "You've kind of got to beat it with a hammer" -- he boils it. "It smells awful," he says. "Honestly, it stinks up your kitchen for a week."

Step 2: Keep it compact.
Dinverno prefers using an octopus about the size of a softball and cramming it into a plastic bag. Balling it up as small as possible not only makes it less conspicuous but also increases throwing velocity. "It goes into a circle shape after you boil it, and you could throw that thing 30 yards."

Step 3: Tape it up.
Dinverno tapes it to his ankle and wears baggy jeans to hide the bulge. For bigger octopuses -- he's seen them up to four feet in length on the ice -- people use garbage bags taped around their waists. But most important: "I always use hockey tape. Duct tape's going to rip off every hair on your leg."

Step 4: Play it cool.
"You're only shady if you look shady," he says, noting the importance of resisting the urge to touch, itch or readjust your smuggled goods. The only thing left is to bask in the glory of impressed seatmates. "Everybody cracks up. They love it," Dinverno says. "The first time I threw one, everyone on the aisle was giving me high-fives when I ran back to my seat."

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