Hockey

He sneaked a catfish into an NHL playoff game in his pants; now he faces three charges

An ice worker removes the catfish during the second period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh. Jacob Waddell, of Nolensville, Tenn., is facing charges after allegedly throwing the dead fish onto the ice.
An ice worker removes the catfish during the second period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh. Jacob Waddell, of Nolensville, Tenn., is facing charges after allegedly throwing the dead fish onto the ice. AP

UPDATE: According to The Associated Press, prosecutors are dropping charges filed against a Tennessee man for throwing a catfish onto the rink in Pittsburgh during the opening of the Stanley Cup Final. Jacob Waddell, 36, was charged in Allegheny County with disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime and disrupting meetings or processions after tossing the dead fish over the glass surrounding the rink Monday night during the Nashville Predators-Pittsburgh Penguins game. District Attorney Stephen Zappala said in a Facebook post Wednesday that Waddell’s actions “do not rise to the level of criminal charges” so the charges “will be withdrawn in a timely manner.”

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A Nashville Predators fan faces three criminal charges after transporting a catfish from Tennessee to Pennsylvania, stuffing it between layers of underwear, sneaking it into an NHL playoff game and throwing the fish onto the ice.

Jacob Waddell of Nolensville, Tenn., was charged with disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Waddell explained the planning and execution of his criminal act to Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone, which provided him a T-shirt and has offered to pay his fines, the Post-Gazette reports. The Predators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Here are some of the highlights of Waddell’s plan, courtesy of the Post-Gazette. It’s worth reading the entire account here.

(By the way, catfish throwing is a Nashville Predators tradition.)

▪ Waddell bought the fish in Tennessee, sprayed it with Old Spice cologne and packed it in a cooler.

▪ To make the fish more packable, he filleted it, cut out half the spine and ran it over with his truck. “The head was too damn big,” Waddell said. “No matter how much I ran it over with my truck, the head was too big.”

▪ From the Post-Gazette: “Originally, Waddell planned to stash the fish in his boots. The head made that impossible. So, he created a catfish-underwear sandwich. Regular drawers went on first. Then, the catfish. Then, a pair of compression shorts. Then, a pair of baggy pants. Waddell said he was lucky that he’s ‘a bigger guy.’ ”

▪ Waddell’s seats were in the upper level. He needed to move down during the game to throw the fish. A pair of Predators fans even offered a screenshot of their lower-level e-tickets if needed.

▪ Waddell didn’t resist security but isn’t happy with the extent of the charges. “The cop told me, to my face, ‘You are being charged with disorderly conduct. You will get a ticket, a citation in the mail,’ ” he said, according to the Post-Gazette. “… That’s what I was told. Now they come out with a couple other trumped-up charges, which are BS. I mean, a catfish isn’t an instrument of whatever-the-hell-they’re-saying-it-was, and I didn’t disrupt a meeting. It was an athletic event.”

Waddell plans to fight the charges.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll win that battle,” he said. “I’m just stubborn enough, as you can probably tell by strapping a catfish to my crotch, to go up there and fight it.”

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