The Detroit Red Wings have terminated the employment of 51-year employee and renowned octopus twirler Al Sobotka, according to a report by Ted Kuffan of The Detroit News.
“I loved my 51 years with the Detroit Red Wings, and would have been happy to stay 51 more,” Sobotka said in a statement. No reason has been publicly given for his dismissal and the Red Wings have not officially commented on the matter.
According to an additional report by Ansar Khan of MLive, Sobotka “has hired an attorney and is contemplating a wrongful termination lawsuit.”
Sobotka, 68, has worked for the Red Wings since 1971, when the team operated out of the now-demolished Detroit Olympia. At the time of his dismissal, he served as the Red Wings’ building operations manager and oversaw the day-to-day management of Little Caesars Arena.
Widely recognized around the National Hockey League for his tradition of enthusiastically twirling octopuses thrown onto the Red Wings’ ice surface, Sobotka is also the namesake for the team’s octopus mascot (“Al”).
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