The Nashville Predators were getting ready to play on the ice but “Operation Fat Cat” was already in motion in the stands.
You may have seen our Exclusive Video yesterday in the Catfish Were Everywhere! article. If you haven’t, please take a look because it shows someone throwing a huge catfish on the ice at the end of the Star Spangled Banner at the Nashville Predators playoff game.
The article also explains the ritual and how surprised some of the National Media was when three big whiskered fish hit the Bridgestone ice. Well that was only, shall we say, the “Tip of the Iceberg”. We were able to get in touch with one of the Catfish throwers and found more than we bargained for.
It turns out that there weren’t three separate folks throwing a Big Cat on the ice but it was a “well coordinated” team of men. Austin, Wes, Jonathan and Luke planned and threw the three lunkers on the ice to “bait” the ducks.
As our readers and fans always wondered “How in the heck do people do that?”, we were able to set up an interview with Austin to get the inside dope. Here is a video that they released yesterday followed by the interview:
Predlines: Austin, thanks so much for meeting with us. The Catfish on the ice was fantastic and an admiring public wants to know a little more about it. So I understand that your team was responsible not only for ONE catfish on the ice on Tuesday but for all THREE. Is that right? Tell me a little about your “team”.
Austin: Yes “Operation Fat Cat” was a three-man planned strategy. We wanted it to be three for game three. Jonathan, Wes and myself have been friends for a while and share the passion for the Preds. We all have season tickets and love the tradition of the catfish that was started back in 2002.
PredLines: Give me a little background. This sounds like a scheme that started at a Buffalo Wild Wings viewing party or something. Is this something you’ve done before or was this a first?
Austin: We knew the boys were in the playoffs and we thought for a while it was going to be the Kings, not the Ducks. When watching the games at Anaheim, our passion for the Preds (and hatred for the Ducks) grew. After game one, I told them if we go up 2-0 we are tossing three catfish on the ice for game three. We have never been up 2-0 in a playoff series and we wanted to make a statement and get the crowd loud. This was our first time doing this and we were really pumped.
PredLines: Where on earth did the catfish come from and how big were they? They looked huge on the ice.
Austin: They were really big. 2-3 feet long. 15-18 pounds each. I think this was my fault. I tend to go big or go home. I found a market off Nolensville road and said I need the three largest catfish you have. I should have also asked “how much per pound”? I got them in the Yeti and on ice to get them frozen.
PredLines: Tell me a little about the plan. Was everyone nervous? Were you all in contact? Were you humming the Mission Impossible Theme? Were you worried about getting escorted out?
Austin: It’s a bit embarrassing how nervous and anxious we all were all day. We all are very business driven in our career and we were cancelling meetings and driving around wasting time because we couldn’t focus. It was the inner 8th grader in us freaking out about doing something bad. We changed the plan every two minutes and of course things happened during the time we were doing it to change it all up.
More from Predlines
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Kiefer Sherwood
- Captain Candidates if Nashville Predators Didn’t Have Roman Josi
- The All-Time 25 Games or Less Nashville Predators Lineup
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Cody Glass
- Joakim Kemell Flashes his Offense in Nashville Predators Loss to Tampa
What ended up happening was strapping them to our backs. Getting in and putting them in bags and putting the gold shirt over it. From there we headed down to the sections (three corners) and sat in some open seats. The plan was to toss on “brave” of the national anthem. We didn’t practice tossing and I am so shocked that we got them all over. Jonathan’s fish almost didn’t make it because it was so big. I dropped mine three times trying to grip it.
Everyone around us knew and helped give us cover. We tossed and ran up and straight to clean off our catfish covered bodies. It didn’t work. We smelled like catfish the rest of the night. It was for sure a rush. Thought for sure we would all kick out. We had backup tickets in case. It would have been worth it.
PredLines: What did your wives or girlfriends think? Did they think you were crazy or were they all for it?
Austin: All three of our wives think we are 8th graders and accept nothing less. Our kids think we are legends. What else can be better than that?
PredLines: It certainly added to the pre-game festivities and I think fans were actually waiting for it. We appreciate your efforts. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Austin: We did this to continue the tradition the Nashville Predators fans have. We are living in a new Nashville. We are changing and growing at a rate that is unstoppable. We have to remember the old days and what got us to now. We are blessed to have a great fan base that believes in the boys and the organization. Let’s always keep this tradition alive. And you will get a great rush!
There you have it. The next time you want to throw a big, fat Catfish on the ice at the ‘Stone, you know how. Special thanks to Austin and Team Fat Cat for both this interview and for keeping the Catfish Tradition alive in Smashville! Go Preds!