Detroit Red Wings Zamboni Octopus driver Al Sobotka says he was fired for peeing in the drain, suing discrimination

DETROIT – A famous Zamboni driver in the Detroit Red Wings said he was kicked out for urinating in a drain.

Al Sobotka filed a discrimination lawsuit against Olympia Entertainment this week, two months after he was fired, after 51 years with the Red Wings. His lawyer said he has a health condition that causes him to urinate frequently.

Sobotka, 68, couldn’t get to the restroom, so he peed down a drain carrying ice runoff from Zamboni’s machines at Little Caesars Arena. Someone saw it and reported it apparently in February.

“He thought there was no one in the building,” said attorney Deborah Gordon. He did not give any warning nor a second chance.”

Olympia Entertainment said it would not comment on a legal matter.

Besides directing Zamboni at the Red Wings Games, Sobotka is best known for removing an octopus thrown by fans on ice, a Detroit tradition at Olympia Stadium, the Joe Louis Arena and now Little Caesars Arena. Fans cheered as he rolled the sea creatures over his head.

Gordon said the department was aware of Sobotka’s prostate problem.

“I was shocked,” Sobotka told WDIV-TV, referring to his dismissal. “I didn’t know what to say. Sadness, yes.”

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