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David Puddy supports Devils, charity on bobblehead night

Actor Warburton, who played 'Seinfeld' character, dropped puck while helping fight childhood cancer

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- David Puddy is supporting the team again. And this time, he is also supporting the fight against childhood cancer.

Actor Patrick Warburton, whose character on the iconic sitcom "Seinfeld" revealed himself as a crazed New Jersey Devils fan in a 1995 episode called "The Face Painter," was at Prudential Center on Tuesday for '90s Night. A David Puddy bobblehead -- complete with red, black and green face paint -- was given to the first 9,000 fans at the Devils' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"When does a guy in his early 50s not want to don the face paint and just be as big of a ridiculous goof as he can be," the 54-year-old said. "It's interesting to think that here we are, 23 years later, and it's the result of a single episode of a sitcom."

Clad in Puddy's signature Martin Brodeur jersey with his face freshly painted, Warburton dropped the ceremonial puck for Andy Greene and Sidney Crosby before the game. Warburton then ripped off the jersey to reveal a red-painted "D" on his chest, just as his character wore to a Devils vs. New York Rangers game during "The Face Painter" episode that aired on May 11, 1995.

He then fell flat on his face while leaving the ice before taking a final bow and a salute to the fans.  

Video: PIT@NJD: Devils host 'Puddy" pregame on 90's night

Warburton was wearing a nicely painted jacket with the Devils logo across the sleeve and back that will be signed by former New Jersey goalie and Hockey Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. The jacket will be auctioned off to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, a leading childhood cancer treatment facility.

"Whatever I can help with to eradicate childhood cancer," Warburton said. "St. Jude has been our charity for 10 years now and this is the ninth year of our annual event that we hold Palm Springs (California). As of three years ago we became the No. 1 event in the nation for the hospital, which is great. There's a lot of generous people who work very hard for us in that area.

"My wife is an artist and she painted the jacket and we just thought it would be a fun idea. It was Puddy's eight-ball jacket with a Devils' look, so it's a one of a kind and I'm going to have Marty sign it, so it's a win-win-win."

The Devils will also donate $25,000 to benefit St. Jude.

Warburton, who was born in Paterson, New Jersey, moved with his parents to Montgomery, Alabama, when he was 3 years old and now lives in Huntington Beach, California. Donning face paint, he resumed the role of Puddy to rev up Devils fans when New Jersey played the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round last season.

"You know what they say ... 'You can't take the Jersey out of the boy,'" he said. "I'm in Huntington Beach but more people think I'm from the East Coast. I think it's just in your blood. I kind of have an allegiance to both the Devils and the Los Angeles Kings but the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, when the Kings defeated the Devils, was tough.

"I hid out during those games because I didn't want to be approached with questions."

Tweet from @NJDevils: Yup, this is a real thing that is really being given out to 9,000 fans on February 19 for 90s Night. Our thanks to our pal @paddywarbucks for always supporting the team.🎟���:

Warburton said that "Seinfeld" fans don't ask him to shout his famous line, "We're the Devils! The Devils! We can beat anybody!" every time he's seen in public. Instead, he exchanges plenty of high-fives.

"'Seinfeld' is such a pop culture thing and in perpetual syndication, so it's unavoidable," he said. "I think it's safe to say I'll never again do anything as high profile as 'Seinfeld,' but that's mostly a good thing."

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