Nashville Predator fans like to throw catfish on the ice during hockey games. One of those fans did it Monday during the team's first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh.
Jacob Waddell, the guy who threw the dead fish, originally faced charges of disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting. Alleghany County, Pa., district attorney spokesman Mike Manko said Wednesday that the charges will be dropped.
"Having reviewed the affidavit involving Mr. Waddell as well as the television coverage of the incident, Dist. Atty. [Stephen A.] Zappala has made the determination that the actions of Mr. Waddell do not rise to the level of criminal charges," Manko said in a statement. "As such, the three charges filed against Mr. Waddell will be withdrawn in a timely manner."
Waddell really didn't seem too upset about the situation even when he was being charged with multiple crimes.
Police told the Tennessean that Waddell purchased the catfish in Nashville and brought it with him to the game in Pittsburgh. That's something else the 36-year-old Nolensville, Tenn., resident seems pretty psyched about.
Waddell told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville on Tuesday that he sprayed the fish with Old Spice cologne before stashing it in a cooler for the drive north. Then, before the game, he filleted it at a relative's house, cut out half its spine and ran it over with a truck.
Police told the Tennessean that Waddell had the catfish vacuum-sealed and hid it in his shorts to get past security at PPG Paints Arena, then removed it from the sealing and wrapped it in a towel and T-shirt before launching it onto the ice during the second period.
Waddell, who paid $350 for a pair of seats at the game, was immediately escorted from the facility and arrested.
Despite all of Waddell's efforts — and those of the Nashville players — the Predators lost to the Penguins, 5-3, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Waddell, who called himself "a dumb redneck with a bad idea" in the radio interview, had become a folk hero among Predators fans. The phrase "possessing an instrument of crime," just might end up on tee shirts and other items available for sale in Nashville when the series shifts to Bridgestone Arena for Game 3, on Saturday.
Metro Nashville Councilman Freddie O'Connell said Tuesday he'd asked for a resolution requesting a pardon for Waddell.
"This was something that was just done for fun, and for a charge to be brought here I think is overstepping just a little," he told the Tennessean.
Waddell had also been offered free legal representation from Rob McGuire, a former assistant prosecutor.
"This is good-natured fandom, it didn't hurt anybody, didn't disrupt the game," McGuire told the Tennessean. "If he wanted my help, I'd go to Pittsburgh and defend a Nashvillian's right to throw catfish on the ice all day long."
Helene Elliott reported from Pittsburgh.
May 31, 8:40 a.m.: This article was updated after the charges against Waddell were dropped.
May 31, 8:05 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details about Waddell's preparations for smuggling the catfish into the hockey game.