Move over "Dart Guy," these NHL playoffs have a newMost Interesting Fan.
That honor goes toJake Waddell,Predators fan and very dedicatedcatfish smuggler. Or, in his own words, adumb redneck with a bad idea.
During Monday's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, a dead catfish came flying over the glass and landed on the ice, causing a brief break in the action as the ice crew cleaned it up. Catfish-tossing has become a tradition at Nashville Predators' home games in recent years, so weexpected to see it happen during these Finals as the Preds took on the Penguins.
The only thing is, Monday's game took place in Pittsburgh, not Nashville.
Waddell traveled to Pittsburgh for the series opener and went to great lengths to ensure that he brought the tradition with him. In the end, he was successful, but he also got kicked out of the game and arrested for his efforts. Pittsburgh police charged him withdisorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting.
While that seems a little ridiculous and excessive, so does Waddell's strategy to carry out the act.
Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did some fine investigative journalism to find out exactly how the Preds fan successfully managed to carry out a catfish tossdespite some of thecity's seafood vendors doing theirbest to prevent it.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 30, 2017
Not only did Waddell travel quite a distance (he was inOhio visiting his in-laws for Memorial Day) for the game, the catfish he broughtwas actually fromNashville. He attempted to mask the gross smell withOld Spice, threw it in a cooler and thentransported it to Pittsburgh.
But here's where Waddell's commitment to the task reallystarts to comeinto play.
On game night, he took the fish to his cousins house, filleted it, cut out half the spine and ran it over with his truck.That made it easier to vacuum-pack and conceal … but not that easy.
The head was too damn big, Waddell said. No matter how much I ran it over with my truck, the head was too big.
The oversized head also prevented him from stashing the fish in his original planned location -- his boots -- and forced him to find another hiding spot. He decided to stuff it in his crotch, between his underwearanda pair ofcompression shorts.
During a bathroom break, he pulled out the catfish and wrapped it in a Penguins giveaway t-shirt and headed down to the glass during a stoppage in play, threw it over and became a legend.
Weve got a (really gross) catfish in Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/BuQWs7nvcW
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 30, 2017
The home fans weren't thrilled and his glory was short-lived, but Waddell doesn't seem to have any regrets or shortage of support.
"The cop told me, to my face, You are being charged with disorderly conduct. You will get a ticket, a citation in the mail. Thats what I was told. Now they come out with a couple other trumped-up charges, which are BS. I mean, a catfish isnt an instrument of whatever-the-hell-theyre-saying-it-was, and I didnt disrupt a meeting. It was an athletic event.
The radio station is going to cover any fines he incurs, and hes got plenty of Nashville-area lawyers willing to help.
If they want to go down that road, we can go down that road, Waddell said. Im pretty sure well win that battle. Im just stubborn enough, as you can probably tell by strapping a catfish to my crotch, to go up there and fight it.
Never underestimate the resolveof a man who is willing to transport a dead animal hundreds of miles, then stuff it down his pants just for the sake of sport and pride.