There from the start, Al Sobotka says goodbye to Joe Louis Arena

- It's the final week of hockey at Joe Louis Arena and one guy who has been there since day one is Al Sobotka.

Red Wings fans know him as the Zamboni driver who gets the crowd going with the swing of an octopus. Ever since he started that, he's been a huge part of the fabric within the fan base and the organization. 

"I never imagined all this would all happen, having all this publicity about all this stuff," he says. "Maybe it's the longevity, the octopus, the Zamboni."

He has his fingerprints on every bit of the building, including the food. Countless times over the last three decades, he's hosted a barbeque for the players. He says former player Bob Probert takes the cake as the biggest eater of all time.

"He was huge. He woofed down five burgers a couple times; he loved them," he says.

For the current players, they know how much Al means to the franchise.

"It would be fun to track his hours here at The Joe," says Henrik Zetterberg. "It doesn't matter when you come in here, what day, he's always here." It's those hours at the puts in at the arena that make many people believe he's married to it.

"A lot of guys here say I'm married to this job. She says, 'Ah, I guess he doesn't have a wife.' That's what she just texted me. See, I do, and I have said it in the paper but they didn't put it in," he jokes. (Shoutout to you, Sandy!)

Now, although one building is closing another one will open with new amenities and all the rest. You can be sure that they will have a barbeque available for Al to continue the tradition.
 


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