Jacob Deveral Waddell, the Nashville Predators fan who delayed the first game of the Stanley Cup finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will not face charges after Western Pennsylvania prosecutors dropped the case on Wednesday.
“Having reviewed the affidavit involving Mr. Waddell as well as the television coverage of the incident, District Attorney Zappala has made the determination that the actions of Mr. Waddell do not rise to the level of criminal charges,” Allegheny County District Attorney spokesman Mike Manko said in a statement (via USA Today).
Waddell, who described himself to a Nashville radio station on Tuesday as “just a dumb redneck with a bad idea,” had been charged with three misdemeanor offenses — disorderly conduct, disrupting meetings and possessing instruments of crime. The latter charge was a direct reference to the fish, apparently, and not an additional “weapon,” according to court documents obtained by TribLive.com.
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
Waddell was kicked out of the arena after throwing the fish Monday night during the second period as the Penguins led the Predators 3-0 at PPG Paints Arena. This caused the game to pause for several minutes while the facility’s staff removed the dead animal.
That Waddell threw the catfish on the ice is not a random event. Predators fans have made it their trademark to throw catfish on the ice the same way Detroit Red Wings throw octopuses, one of nature’s smartest creatures, on the ice to show support.
The gesture, however, didn’t play well with the Pittsburgh crowd. Even before the game, some Pittsburgh fish markets announced they’d temporarily halt the selling of catfish to prevent such incidents.
Meanwhile, Nashville fans heralded Waddell as a hometown hero for throwing the fish, which, Waddell said he brought from Nashville and smuggled into the arena by vacuum-sealing it and shoving it down a pair of compression shorts. Even country singer Carrie Underwood was impressed.
The fish throw appeared to shift the momentum of the game, at least temporarily. After landing on the ice, the Predators went on to score three unanswered goals, but Nashville’s good luck wouldn’t last for long. The Penguins won, 5-3, to take a 1-0 series lead.
Waddell, meanwhile, remained unapologetic about the catfish prank online, declaring to one critic that the event was “GLORIOUS!”
— Jake Deveral Waddell (@JacobDeveral) May 30, 2017
While Penguins fans (so far) haven’t joined the trend of throwing anything weird on the ice (along with the Predators’ catfish and the Red Wings’ octopuses, other teams’ fans have thrown hamburgers and plastic rats), Pittsburgh fans have done at least one weird thing.
Last year, some fans got hold of an eight-foot replica of a hammerhead shark and strung it up from a crane before the team went on to win the Stanley Cup Finals over the San Jose Sharks.
Trying for their second Stanley Cup win in a row, the Penguins again host the Predators for Game 2 on Wednesday night. Expect more catfish.