Jill Craft was in the crowd with parents and fans from the Loomis Chaffee School just as the boys’ varsity hockey team was set to take on the Avon Old Farm School over the weekend.
The crowd chanted for the Zamboni driver to bring out "Larry the Lobster," a live lobster that's slid onto the ice for good luck.
"Tradition is about dignity, it's not about shame. And, they certainly need to stop this tradition today,” Craft said, adding that she didn’t expect to see that at the Savage Johnson Rink in Windsor.
"The gentleman who was driving the Zamboni ran out from the back area with a huge, live lobster and he threw it onto the ice. The lobster was sliding towards Loomis fans,” Craft said.
The tradition of "Larry the Lobster" dates back several years, and it was inspired by similar traditions at some professional and college hockey games.
At Loomis Chaffee, the lobster is slid onto the ice between the second and third period of the game for good luck.
"While it was sliding, it must have caught on something because it detached its right front claw. So, his right front claw went in a different direction than the poor lobster,” Craft said.
She says it appeared the lobster was trying to move, but it was too icy and it couldn't get any traction.
Craft snapped a photo of it to share with Channel 3. She said the Zamboni driver then got back onto the ice, picked up the lobster in one hand and the claw in the other and held "Larry" above his head and walked off.
"You have to think, what is the message you're sending your students? Having them chant and applaud torture to a live animal,” Craft said.
Some in Windsor said they are now wondering if the school can find another way to incorporate the lobster without actually using a live one.
"It's kind of an odd tradition, I mean, it's kind of cruel. I hate even throwing him into a hot water, to be honest,” said Alice Scott of Windsor.
"I think they should try something else, you know? I think it's a little bit off beat,” said John Dudack, of Windsor.
While others contend there's no problem with it, especially because the lobster is consumed after the game.
"I guess if it's their tradition, they're free to continue as they like,” said Cynthia Knotts, of Windsor.
In a statement, Loomis Chaffee officials said “the school, working with the coach and the athletics department, will review the matter and consider what kinds of traditions work best in our community."
I love a good lobster like most people - lots of butter! HOWEVER, this tradition needs to stop. Children should not be taught that live creatures exist to be tortured for our amusement. Yes, we eat meat (most of us) and wear leather and eat eggs, etc. However, children should be taught that we treat the animals we use for our consumption humanely. It's not just pets that get treated humanely. ALL creatures need to be treated humanely and with respect.
(WFSB - Feb 28, 2017)