There has to be more to the story, but words got out that the Detroit Red Wings fired longtime operations manager Al Sobotka, long known to generations of Red Wings fans as the Zamboni driver who popularized swinging the octopus over his head to get Red Wings fans revved up

Get our free mobile app

The Detroit News reported the news, saying Sobotka had been with the team since 1971. He started at the old Olympia Stadium where the Wings played until their move to Joe Louis Arena in 1979. He worked the midnight shift, sweeping for $3.25 an hour. He eventually became a Zamboni driver and rose to Operations Manager. The Detroit Free Press says Sobotka's representative issued a statement: "I loved my 51 years with the Detroit Red Wings, and would have been happy to stay 51 more." The Red Wings had no comment.

The Octopus Tradition

The tradition of sneaking Octopi into the Olympia started in the 1950's. (Back then a team had to win eight playoff games to win the Stanley Cup, which conveniently matched the number of tentacles on an octopus.) But it was Sobotka who started swinging it around his head in the early 90's in a playoff series against Chicago.

The NHL came down on Sobotka and the Red Wings about it, but owner Mike Ilitch liked it and the league relented and the rest is. as they say, history.

LOOK: MLB history from the year you were born

Stacker compiled key moments from Major League Baseball's history over the past 100 years. Using a variety of sources from Major League Baseball (MLB) record books, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and audio and video from events, we've listed the iconic moments that shaped a sport and a nation. Read through to find out what happened in MLB history the year you were born.

LOOK: The story behind every NFL team name

Stacker delved into the story behind every NFL football team name. Overall team records, also included, are reflective of NFL regular-season games. There are some football teams with well-known nicknames—the Jets, for instance, are often referred to as Gang Green—but we also divulge how some teams’ official names are sparingly used (the Jets’ neighbors, the Giants, are actually known as the New York Football Giants). Sometimes a team name can tell you a lot about local history: The Vikings of Minnesota draw upon the area’s strong ties to Scandinavia, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are dripping in local legend related to Florida’s pirate past.

Let’s kick off the countdown with the folks who earned their nickname by buying boxes of used team jerseys.

15 Ways You Can Help People in Ukraine Right Now

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, many wonder how they can help. Below is a list of organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine along with information on how you can support their various missions. 

More From 99.1 WFMK