So on January 29, 2011, Kevin O’Connell, a 28-year-old man from East Hartford, downed some Captain Morgan’s and went all Captain Ahab on Pucky the Whale, the mascot of the AHL Connecticut Whale. (Yes, just the singular whale. Not Whales or Whalers. But one whale. The beloved Pucky). His friend bet him to attack and tackle the mascot during the game – and he did – in front of thousands of horrified kids and families. At the time, Pucky had been greeting young fans, which obviously added a special douchebag factor to the whole incident. Many angry parents then helped the police find O’Connell, who happened to be hiding in a nearby section, thereby making him both a whale beater and a coward. Pucky was okay, but Kevin was arrested.
After the incident, the team issued a statement: "We are extremely thankful that our beloved mascot was not injured, nor were any fans or game staff, as a result of this regrettable action by one individual of a great crowd of nearly 12,000 fans. We are also very grateful to the terrific XL Center arena staff, and the Hartford Police, for their swift and appropriate action in apprehending the offending party and barring that individual from future XL Center events. While we are confident that this was an isolated incident, we will continue to work diligently with our XL Center partners to ensure that the safety of our fans and staff is never compromised during a Whale game."
What else is there to do at an AHL game other than getting wasted and going whale tackling? Watch the lame version of a sport that few people care about in the first place? No! The only way to make that fun is to get drunk and make side bets with your friends. Judge Raymond Norko does not agree. Last week, Judge Norko sentenced O’Connell to 10 days of community service AND (the “ands” are the best part here) a public apology to fans, to be published in The Hartford Courant, AND he must read a book and write a book report of sorts about it. If O’Connell follows the Judge’s orders, the breach of peace charge against him will be dismissed.