If the Omaha Ashcats are synonymous with a single person, it has to be superfan Karl Loesser (aka “Krazy Karl”). Win or lose, Krazy Karl is there, most likely engaging in some wild stunt in support of the team he loves.
“Winning requires dedication and hard work,” he explains. “That’s true if you’re a player, and it’s true if you’re a fan too. You have to be willing to go the extra mile for your team.”
This year, the Ashcats have been competitive, but they’ve remained a frustrating few points out of playoff position for much of that time. With the season reaching a critical stretch, Krazy Karl felt it was time for him to act.
“The hockey gods must be appeased,” as Loesser put it. “Special measures are called for.”
Krazy Karl decided to make a sacrifice. On Sunday, he and a group of fellow fans gathered outside the Ashcats’ arena, the Switching Yard. Krazy Karl removed his Ashcats T-shirt and threw it on the ground, and invited the others to do the same. Several of them did so. The superfan then reached into his backpack and withdrew a stuffed model of Engineer Eddie, the team’s mascot, which he placed atop the pile of discarded shirts.
“Hockey gods, we call on you,” shouted Krazy Karl. “We are the Omaha Ashcats, and to earn your favor, this cat will now become ashes.”
He then withdrew a stick lighter from his backpack and touched it to the pile, setting it ablaze. As the fire built, the fans chanted “Fire! Fire! Fire!”
As the flames continued to rise, Krazy Karl turned on a boom box, which played “Disco Inferno” as the fans cheered.
“Accept our sacrifice, hockey gods, and bring us wins!” Krazy Karl concluded, thrusting his arms into the air.
It was an unorthodox approach, but it seems to have worked: Since the sacrifice, the Ashcats have gone 3-0-1 and moved into a tie for second place. “Clearly, the hockey gods have deemed our sacrifice worthy,” said Krazy Karl. “We have changed the energy around this team!”
The Omaha players themselves had mixed reactions about the action performed in their name. “I’m as superstitious as the next guy,” said C Owen Griffin, “but they’re letting fans set fire to stuff in front of the stadium? That sounds… kinda dangerous, really.” (Krazy Karl claims that he had a fire extinguisher on hand in case things went haywire.)
On the other hand, LW Cleo Rodgers regarded the sacrifice positively. “Knowing that our fans are out there doing stuff like this for us, that makes you feel good,” he said. Does he actually believe it can have an effect? “Hey, I’ve got family from New Orleans, and they taught me to take that stuff seriously. And at this point of the season, I’ll take all the good juju we can get.”
When D Melchior Okonseniak was informed of Krazy Karl’s actions, he paused for a moment. “That’s the guy who runs through the aisles banging his drum and screaming at people to cheer?” When told that it was, Okonseniak smiled. “Yes, that sounds like what he would do.”