DETROIT (CBS Detroit) — One of Detroit’s oldest sporting traditions is under fire by an animal rights group.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent a letter to Ilitch Holdings CEO Chris Ilitch this week asking that he bar for life anyone who throws an actual octopus onto the Joe Louis Arena ice this weekend during the arena’s sendoff.

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“Octopuses are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain, and it’s no more acceptable to kill one for such a disrespectful, frivolous, and stupid purpose than it is to throw dead bear cubs onto the ice during a Bruins game,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said.

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The tradition dates back to the Detroit Red Wings’ days at Olympia Stadium, where the team played from 1927 until 1979. The eight tentacles represent the eight wins needed to win a Stanley Cup Championship in the early days of the NHL.

PETA suggests that fans use plush octopi as a “cruelty-free” substitute.

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The Red Wings will play their final game at Joe Louis Arena against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday before moving to Little Caesars Arena in the fall.