In Nashville, hurling a dead catfish onto the ice will earn the admiration of peers. In Pittsburgh, it’ll land you a citation.
Jacob Waddell, a Predators fan who smuggled the fish (which he transported from Tennessee in a vacuum seal and stored in his compression shorts until retrieving in the men’s room) into PPG Paints Arena and briefly interrupted Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, is facing a string of charges for his attempts to galvanize his team.
Initial indications were that Waddell was removed from the arena, but did avoid arrest and was on his way home. Instead, reports are that he’s been charged with disorderly conduct, disrupting a meeting and possessing instruments of a crime, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In case you’re wondering, the instrument of crime was, indeed, officially a fish.
The police report indeed specified that the "instrument of crime" was a fish. pic.twitter.com/Utac0DevgY
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) May 30, 2017
It took only a moment for arena staff to scrape off the fins and gills, and remove the fish which landed splat on the blueline in the Predators zone while Sidney Crosby lined up for a faceoff at the opposite end of the ice with Penguins up 3-0.
In an entirely unrelated occurrence roughly five minutes later, Ryan Ellis cut the lead to 3-1 to kick-start a feverish comeback. The Predators would tie the game, only to lose when Pittsburgh’s first shot in 37 minutes happened to be a perfectly-placed snapper (pardon the pun) under the bar from rookie forward Jake Guentzel.
Predators fans and local celebrities – including Tennesee Titans tackle Taylor Lewan – have been routinely tossing the local delicacies onto the ice at Bridgestone Arena all throughout Nashville’s postseason run, and without consequence.
Called a “hero” by the Predators’ most famous supporter, country star Carrie Underwood, there’s predictably been a groundswell of support for Waddell. This included a local councilman, who issued a request for his pardoning:
— Freddie O'Connell (@freddieoconnell) May 30, 2017
Having previously met the Detroit Red Wings – another team that seeks good fortune by heaving sea creatures onto the ice – in the Stanley Cup Final, local Pittsburgh establishments like Wholey’s Fish Market made it known that Tennessee residents would be denied the purchase of catfish from their mongers.
This made Waddell’s undertaking that much more challenging, but certainly that much more satisfying.
More Stanley Cup Final coverage from Yahoo Sports: