In any large group of hundreds of men, there are bound to be a few trouble makers. Especially when those men are thrown salaries and incentives that make them feel invincible to the law and in today's world of sports it seems to be more and more common to see players winding up in jail for their off field activities.
Professional athletes can have a sense of immunity when it comes to breaking the law, especially in the NFL, where it seems to have become an epidemic for players to be in the news for arrests weekly.
NHL players however are not immune to the same punishments that some of the higher profile sports receive. Though crimes tend to be more scarce amongst NHL players, even theor stars still receive harsh punishments when they make mistakes and are caught.
Though these players still managed to land themselves in jail, some of them used their professional status to get by with a warning first or to have their sentence lessened. Some players appeared to never learn their lesson by being let off a number of times before finally being put in jail, or even continuously being put in jail and still breaking the law when let free.
It is widely known that the NHL that it is riddled with players that are partiers, fighters, and just rule breakers in general. Sometimes a player overstepsthe boundaries off the rink...or in one case on the rink. Here are fifteen instances where the player did something bad enough that it landed them in jail.
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15 Claude Giroux
One night back in 2014, NHL superstar Claude Giroux found himself a little too drunk and decided to be a little “cheeky” with the cops. While hanging out in Canada during the offseason, Giroux was out drinking and kept grabbing a police officer's butt, according to The Ottawa Sun. After a few grabs, the officer had enough and Giroux ended up having to spend the night in jail.
14 Nikolai Khabibulin
Mixing cars and alcohol does not go over well with police officers and rightfully so. Especially if you make yourself a target by driving 70 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. That is exactly what Nikolai Khabibulin was doing late in the 2010 season which led to him having to spend a portion of offseason in jail. According to ESPN, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and 15 days under house arrest and Khabibulin never appealed so that his sentence wouldn’t carry over into training camp.
13 Dino Ciccarelli
In what is believed to be the first instance of a player being charged with a crime for something done on a professional rink, Dino Ciccarelli spent almost a full day in prison for an on ice attack that happened in 1988. Ciccarelli, then playing for the Minnesota North Stars, attacked fellow NHL player Luke Richardson by hitting him in the head (twice) with his stick and then punching him. Luckily, Richardson was wearing a helmet. Ciccarelli was given a 10 game suspension, paid a $1,000 fine and was sent to jail for a day, according to the New York Times. However, he was let out later that day after his lawyer appealed the ruling.
12 Sean McMorrow
One would believe that after being busted by border patrol for trying to cross the border with a bag containing $27,000 that smelled like marijuana and being let go, that Sean McMorrow would would have stopped smuggling drugs. Sadly, he did not and continued to run a drug ring that had marijuana being transported from Toronto to Niagara Falls in upstate New York. McMorrow was eventually caught in 2010, sentenced to two years in prison and deported back to Canada after serving his time, according to The Star.
11 Tom McCarthy
After spending nine seasons in the NHL, Tom McCarthy found himself traveling down the wrong path and ended up joining a drug smuggling ring. McCarthy was one of 24 people arrested in 1994 for trafficking over seven and a half tons of marijuana and a large amount of cocaine from Canada into the United States, according to the New York Times. He ended up serving five years and ten months in prison. In a change of pace from some of the other stories found in this article, McCarthy has grown from his mistake and is now a hockey coach in Canada, while he also mentors young kids about making good decisions.
10 Bob Probert
One of the most well known enforces in NHL history and an assistant captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Bob Probert had to take a three month break from his hockey career to serve a prison sentence stemming from a smuggling charge, according to Complex. In 1989, Probert tried to use the notoriously weak Detroit-Windsor Border to smuggle a half ounce of cocaine into Canada. Probert served out his sentence in Minnesota before returning to play eleven more years of hockey and currently owns the Red Wings record for both penalty minutes in a career and in a season.
9 Patrick Cote
After having a brief career in professional sports and being given a ton of money to blow, it's common for professional athletes to run into money troubles. That is exactly what happened to Patrick Cote, leading him to rob two Canadian banks, by stating that he was armed. Not unfamiliar with run-ins with the law, Cote was found a few days after the crimes were committed driving a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and never returned to hockey.
8 Semyon Varlamov
After a hot start to the 2013 season, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov was forced to spend an evening in jail for a domestic incident involving his then-girlfriend Evgeniya Vavrinyuk. Varlamov was taken to a Denver jail after Vavrinyuk had reported to the authorities that Varlamov had attacked her and the bruises on her matched that of an assault. The charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault carried a penalty of two to six years in prison, according to NHL.com. The charges were dismissed in court a month later.
7 Rudy Poeschek
After a number of run-ins with the law for a variety of crimes including child abuse, false imprisonment, and several suspended license charges, the state of Florida finally had enough with Rudy Poeschek and sentenced him to 60 days in jail, according to The Toronto Sun. The crime that landed him in jail? Poeschek decided one day in 2005 to take his five year old daughter on a joy ride without her wearing a seatbelt. After knocking over a number of mailboxes, running into palm trees, and flattening two of his tires Poeschek tried running for the cops before eventually being tasered and taken into custody. Police said he was not under the influence.
Poeschek seems to still have not learned as he plead guilty this week on a number of charges dating back to 2014, including assault. He awaits his sentence, according to Metronews.ca.
6 Craig MacTavish
In 1984, when drinking and driving crimes were not nearly as serious as they are today Craig MacTavish spent a year in prison for committing vehicular manslaughter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Because of the remorse MacTavish showed and because of the leniency of the crime MacTavish was only sentenced to serve one year in Massachusetts jail.
At the time a member of the Boston Bruins, MacTavish was released upon completing his sentence and ended up signing with the Edmonton Oilers, where he won four Stanley Cups. He is also known for being the last helmetless player to play in the NHL.
5 Rob Ramage
Back in 2003, former Leafs captain Rob Ramage drove a rented vehicle under the influence of alcohol and crashed it head on into an oncoming SUV, killing former NHL player Keith Magnuson and injuring another woman. In 2007, Ramage was sentenced to four years in prison for the crime, though because of good behavior and pressure from Magnuson’s family to be lenient with Ramage, the former star was only forced to serve 10 months, according to YorkRegion.com. Upon his release, Ramage was banned from entering any bars or liquor stores and eventually returned to hockey as a coach in the OHL.
4 Mike Danton
Coming in at number four is one of the more bizarre crimes on this list. As a member of the St. Louis Blues, a paranoid Mike Danton hired a hitman to kill his agent whom he thought was trying to kill him. Blaming the paranoia on sleeping pills and stimulants, Danton diligently searched a local St. Louis bar looking for a hitman. Eventually finding one through a girl that he used to date, Danton paid out $10,000 to have his agent murdered, according to ESPN. The crime never happened though, as Danton was arrested on conspiring to kill charges and served more than five years in prison.
3 Steve Durbano
Steve Durbano appears to be one of those guys that never learn. Already known for his aggressive play that caused him to average five penalty minutes a game over his career, he was also known for getting into bar fights. Eventually, Durbano ended up in prison for much more serious crimes. In 1983, he was caught trying to smuggle over a half-million dollars worth of cocaine from the U.S. into Canada, which put him behind bars for seven years, according to Complex.com. Then, in 1998, he was arrested again for running a prostitution ring, forcing him to spend more time in prison.
2 Tony Demers
Back in 1949, former Montreal Canadien Tony Demers brought an unconscious girlfriend to the hospital, covered in bruises with an alibi stating that she had jumped from his moving car. It was later found that Demers, who had been heavily drinking with the woman the night before, had been the cause for the injuries that ultimately led to her death a few days later. Demers was sentenced to fifteen years in one of Canada’s most notoriously bad prisons; St. Vincent de Paul where he was released after eight years.
1 Michael McBain
The only player on this list still serving time, Michael McBain is just over two years into his four to fifteen year sentence for sexual assault. McBain was found guilty of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter for a period of four years that began when she was 12 years old, according to CBC. The former member of the Tampa Bay Lightning was playing for the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers and noticed the young girl had a crush on one of the players on the team. McBain made a fake email account to impersonate the player and used that to get the girl to send explicit pictures to him, in addition to other actions that we at TheSportster will save for your own research.
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