PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA/AP) --- A fan of the Nashville Predators has been charged after throwing a catfish on the ice at PPG Paints Arena during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Play was stopped at 16:40 of the second period during Monday night's game. It took a few minutes to remove the catfish carcass from the ice.
Security quickly closed in on the fan, who was sitting in the lower bowl at PPG Paints Arena.
"At first I was confused. I didn't know what it was actually," said Tara Morrett of Harrisburg.
The alleged, and proud, culprit is 36-year-old Jacob Waddell, of Nashville. He was thrown out of PPG Paints Arena.
So this dude just got kicked out of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final for throwing a catfish on the ice. pic.twitter.com/DzLK6l1Mv5
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 30, 2017
"I saw a ton of people in the section point him out," said Mason Morrett.
Country music star and wife of the Predators captain, Carrie Underwood, called Waddell her hero. Other Nashville fans are saying he's a "legend."
My hero... ???????????????? https://t.co/2sW9P7mrOg
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) May 30, 2017
On Nashville radio station 104.5, Waddell said, "I don't know about 'legend.' It was just a dumb redneck with a bad idea, and it's turned into all this."
Pittsburgh Police have criminally charged Waddell with disrupting the hockey game, disorderly conduct, and using the dead catfish to commit the other two crimes.
"Oh, I'm totally for the safety of the players. They're important to us. I don't want anything to happen to them," said Pens fan, Jennifer Smith.
Waddell admitted to being the catfish hurler and explained how he did it.
"I drove it up there. Drove with my wife, my family up there, had it in a cooler, sprayed it down with cologne. I had two pairs of underwear on. I had regular underwear on, and I had compression shorts on, and I slid it between the two, and walked right in," said Waddell.
He said he knows he is facing charges, but says he would do it again.
"I'm just stubborn enough, as you can probably tell, by strapping a catfish to my crotch to go back up there and fight it," said Waddell.
Play-By-Play Announcer Doc Emrick Weighs In --
Mayor Bill Peduto has released this statement:
"This has turned into a whale of a story. 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."
At Wholey's, they are being extra careful with catfish sales during the final playoff series.
"We had two people that tried to buy them. We identified them. No catfish for you," said Ned Carroll.
A 40-pound monster in the tank there is the big talker.
"They wouldn't be able to throw that," said Robert Rankin.
Eric Mallery, of Altoona, joked, "We're gonna take that catfish and throw it on their ice after we sweep them!"
If there is another catfish thrown Wednesday, Pens fans told KDKA it will only guarantee another win.
Jany Rankin and Josie Wright, said "That's why we beat them! We told them not to mess with us!"
PETA has also released a statement on the incident, saying:
"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."
They've also written a letter thanking the Penguins. Click here to read it.
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