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Man hid catfish in compression shorts before hurling it onto Stanley Cup ice

By
Alex Butler

May 31 (UPI) -- Jake Waddell says he ran a catfish over with his truck, vacuum sealed it and soaked it in Old Spice before throwing it on the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Nashville Predators fan told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his wife was "tentatively OK with it."

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Waddell was ejected from the game Monday and charged with three misdemeanors. He explained the details of his second-period fish toss Tuesday on Midday 180 on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone.

He bought $350 upper-bowl tickets to the game, watching the Pittsburgh Penguins beat his Predators 5-3. Before the contest, he bought the catfish from a market in Tennessee.

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Pittsburgh fish markets refused to sell the fish around the time of the game.

He talked about the plans and told Midday 180 about his goal of tossing a catfish prior to pulling off the stunt. Before moving the fish from Tennessee to Pittsburgh, he sprayed it with Old Spice cologne and put it in a cooler. On the day of the game, he brought the fish to his cousin's house. He filleted the fish and cut out half of the spine. He told the radio show that he ran the fish over with a truck and vacuum sealed it.

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"The head was too [expletive] big," Waddell told the show. "No matter how much I ran it over with my truck, the head was too big."

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While at the game, Waddell had the catfish in his shorts. He put on a pair of regular underwear, loaded the fish, and put compression shorts on top. He also wore baggy pants.

He tested out the strategy at his in-laws' house before going to PPG Paints Arena. The in-laws never noticed the fish, setting the plan in motion.

Waddell moved down from the upper level to the aisle between sections 121 and 122 during the second period of the game. With the catfish tightly pinned in his undershorts and his cousin by his side, Waddell talked two Predators fans into taking a screenshot of their e-tickets for the section they went to, just in case they were asked for proof of purchase by ushers. The fans then waited at the top of the concourse and let Waddell in their seats.

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During a brief stoppage in play, Waddell walked down to the glass and heaved the fish onto the ice. He was escorted to the top of the section before being led out of the arena.

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He said he was charged with disorderly conduct, disrupting a meeting and possessing an instrument of crime.

Waddell, 36, plans to lawyer up and fight the charges.

Catfish tossing at Predators games began in 2003. The tradition mimics the Detroit Red Wings' pastime of throwing an octopus on the ice. The Metro Nashville Police Department told the Tennessean that no fans have been cited for tossing catfish on the ice at Predators games in the last 14 years.

The Detroit Free Press traced back the history of octopus hurling 65 years.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto issued a statement full of fish puns, but he didn't call for strict punishment for Waddell.

"This has turned into a whale of a story," Peduto said in the statement. "From my perch, I agree with Mayor Barry that we shouldn't be baited into interfering with this fish tale, but if the charges eventually make their way to a judge I hope the predatory catfish hurler who got the hook last night is simply sentenced to community service, perhaps cleaning fish at Wholey's."

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Midday 180 began selling T-shirts featuring a photo of a catfish with the words "Instrument of Crime." The radio station also started a "Predators Catfish Defense Fund" on GoFundMe. It raised $2,030 of its $1,000 goal in 15 hours.

"Here is your chance!! A donation here will benefit Jake's 'defense fund,' and all proceeds above the goal will go directly to benefit the great work of The Nashville Predators Foundation," the GoFundMe account page says.

An online petition had more than 750 signatures to make Waddell the "official towel waver/hype man" for the Saturday's Game 3 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

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