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Man arrested at Bruins game for chucking octopus onto ice

A Red Wings fan threw an octopus on the ice in the third period.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A Detroit Red Wings fan was arrested at TD Garden Thursday night after he tossed an octopus onto the ice during the third period of the Bruins game.

According to a police report, Jeffrey Farrugia, 32, was charged with disturbing a public assembly, a misdemeanor.

An officer on detail at TD Garden said that at 9:31 p.m. he observed Farrugia “walk down to the front row and throw what appeared to be an eight-legged creature” onto the ice during the hockey game against the Red Wings.

It was “later determined to be an octopus,” police said in the report.

Farrugia, who was wearing a Red Wings jersey at the time, was placed into custody and escorted out of TD Garden, police said.

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Farrugia drove down from his Cumberland, Maine, home Thursday afternoon and bought the octopus on the way, putting it on ice in a cooler, according to his wife Sarah, who attended the game with him.

They let it thaw out in the hotel room before setting out for the game, she said.

Farrugia employed some creative methods in getting the dead sea creature past security at the TD Garden.

“I Saran-wrapped it to my thigh,” he said.

Toward the end of the game, he walked down to the front and threw the octopus onto the ice as part of a long-running Red Wings tradition in important games.

“I just wanted to show my team pride,” said Farrugia, who is originally from Detroit. “I would never have thought in a million years that I would get arrested for throwing an octopus at a sporting event.”

Farrugia said this was the first time he had attempted to join in the tradition, which usually takes place at the Red Wings’ Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

“It wasn’t a malicious thing, it was all just for fun,” he said. “It’s a celebration thing in Detroit.”

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Farrugia said he felt compelled to reach out to the Globe and tell his side of the story to let Boston fans know that he meant no disrespect.

“The fans were great about it in the end,” he added. “They didn’t want me to get in trouble.”

The Bruins were up 5-1 over the Red Wings when the octopus came sailing over the glass partition. The game ended in a 5-2 victory for Boston.

Crews in Bruins gear skated out onto the ice and scooped up the octopus using a shovel and a bucket, a video shows.

There was reportedly a second instance of an octopus being chucked onto the ice during the game Thursday.

The tradition of Red Wings fans tossing octopi onto the ice began in 1952, during a Stanley Cup playoff run, according to the team’s website.

“Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs,” according to the website. “Back then, the NHL boasted only six teams, and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings swept the series that year, and the Octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since.”

It’s not a custom in Boston, however.

Pictures shared on social media and captured by photographers covering the game show one of the grey-colored octopi splayed out on the ice.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Reenat Sinay can be reached at reenat.sinay@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @rensinay.

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