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An FYI for those of you who live elsewhere: Detroit is famous for many things. Aretha, Stevie Wonder, square pizza, the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise ... and Al Sobotka. An employee of the Red Wings since 1971, Sobotka's fame is multifaceted — he gathers up the octopi that the hockey team's fans have thrown on the ice for 65 years, and is the world' foremost octopus twirler; he's the building manager of Little Caesars Arena and the longtime manager of the Joe Louis Arena it replaces; and the team's mascot Al the Octopus is named after him.



And Sobotka drives the Zamboni at Red Wings games — he even came in second, with 97,261 votes, in the Zamboni company's Driver of the Year competition years ago. (You didn't know there was a Zamboni Driver of the Year? And you call yourself a motorsports fan.)

Now, Sobotka may be gunning to win that Driver of the Year trophy outright: Tuesday, he drove a Red Wings Zamboni out on the open road, down the aforementioned Woodward Avenue. Photos went out on social media.

Good morning Detroit! #zamboni. #districtdetroit #lgrw. #littlecaesarsarena #redwings.

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It's unclear what he was doing, but among the likely explanations: He decided to move the machine from the old arena to the new one. It was a stunt to gain publicity for the team or arena. (Success!) He was road-testing a repair. Or, he was just having fun.

Here's a great profile of Al Sobotka in the Detroit Free Press, in case you're intrigued by the guy.

Spotted on Woodward this morning #al #lgrw #zamboni

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All this reminds us of a very special Christmas season, in 2016, when Jesse Myshak of Alberta man piloted his recently purchased Zamboni into a Tim Hortons drive-thru for coffee. Yes, that's how Canadian he is — he owns his own Zamboni.

"I figured I'd just drive it home," Myshak told CBC News. "Guys at work were kind of laughing after I was driving home, [they said] to drive through Timmies and get a coffee."


And going way back in the Autoblog files, there was a Minnesota case of suspected drunk driving aboard a Zamboni in 2012. We're not sure they ever figured out if that was a chargeable offense, but unlike Jesse Myshak or Al Sobotka, that fellow wasn't on a public road.

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