A worker at PPG Paints Arena cleans up the catfish tossed by Predators fan Jacob Waddell during Monday's game. (Photo by Associated Press)
Jacob Waddell brought the catfish from Nashville to Pittsburgh. (WSMV)
PITTSBURGH, PA (WSMV) -
A Nashville Predators fan who threw a catfish on the ice in PPG Paints Arena has been charged, according to Pittsburgh police.
Jacob Waddell, 36, of Nolensville, TN, has been charged with possessing instruments of crime, disrupting meetings and disorderly conduct after he launched a catfish onto the ice during the second period of play.
The Pittsburgh police said Waddell is being charged via summons.
Waddell said he brought the four-pound catfish from Nashville to Pittsburgh.
“Kept it in the cooler all weekend. Did a couple test runs to see where I could stash it,” Waddell said. “The hardest part was going through the trial runs to see where to put it, how obvious it was.”
He snuck the vacuum-sealed fish in his compression shorts.
“Having a gigantic fish down your crotch in compression shorts, it was uncomfortable,” Waddell said.
But how did Waddell conceal the smell? Old Spice.
“I put it in a cooler and soaked it in body spray, cologne, so you wouldn’t be able to smell it,” he said.
At the start of the second period, Waddell knew it was go time.
“I just kind of snuck down there, and you can see as I got close to the ice, flipped the shirt off, flipped the towel off, grabbed where I could throw it,” he said. “Almost let it go. Just dug my thumb in the teeth and just slung it out there.”
That toss resulted in Waddell being charged in Pittsburgh.
“The more this thing snowballed, the madder they got. Now they look stupid and want to put more charges on,” he said.
“It was all my idea,” Waddell added. “My idea was I’m going to be up there. I wish I could go to that game. I should go to that game and I should throw a catfish on the ice in that game.”
Predators fans say the tradition of throwing a catfish on the ice grew in response to a Detroit Red Wings tradition.
Red Wings fans throw octopus on the ice. The eight tentacles symbolized the eight wins it would take at the time to win a Stanley Cup.
Predators fans were not happy to see the octopus landing on home ice, so they adopted a tradition of their own.
“I believe it was the first time in the playoffs against Detroit in 2004, someone threw out a catfish,” said Mark Hollingsworth, a member of the Predators fan group Cellblock 303. “I don’t know exactly why other than catfish are very plentiful in the South and predators would probably eat a fish. That is all I can think of.
“Now it seems like the catfish are getting bigger and bigger that are being thrown out on the ice, so I think we are going to see quite a few on Saturday,” Hollingsworth added.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry issued a statement on the charges.
Mayor Barry appreciates and applauds the enthusiasm of our fans. However, as Mayor she knows that it would be inappropriate for her to intercede in a criminal matter locally, let alone ask the Mayor of Pittsburgh to do the same. We would hope that in the spirit of good sportsmanship that any charges for throwing a catfish onto the ice would be quickly dismissed.
PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman issued a statement regarding the charges:
Whether catfish or cat, it's never acceptable to toss any sensitive, intelligent animal's body onto the ice during a hockey game. PETA appreciates PPG Paints Arena's swift action to eject the fan and have him charged with several crimes, which will remind all sports fans that this offensive behavior will not be tolerated. We trust that all NHL arenas will follow suit.
@PredsMaverick Charge they may, charge they might, that Catfish still hit the ice last night!!!! Go Preds!!!