When one makes so much money, it is really their duty to foster good spending habits, for themselves and their loves ones. The 15 hockey players on this list did not manage their money correctly, in fact, they managed their money terribly. Maybe the player made a stupid business move, got arrested, had bad spending habits, or all three.
"In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known - that the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness," Norman O. Brown.
So what does this quote mean exactly? It intends to say that money has no real feeling to invoke happiness in people. Money is used to buy vast and eccentric things, but it can plot the downfall of anyone. Money can turn selfless people into greedy S.O.Bs and greedy S.O.Bs into gracious church goers. It is endlessly powerful both ways.
So what is the definite purpose of this article? Firstly, it should it should be educational. This list is a basically a compilation of things to NOT do, and pursue. FYI, the activities listed should not be pursued.
Some of the men on this list will be obvious to be here, but others will be shocking to readers. Some of your favorite stars are broke, it is a fact. They have blown away their money on luxuries they can no longer afford, or made poor investments. This article is not just how these guys went broke, but also a commentary of what these men are doing today. How they are living their lives as people who lost everything.
15 Kevin Stevens
Stevens was being stupid, when he got arrested while with a prostitute, and on top of that had $500 worth of drugs. To top off this charade that he pulled, he was also married with children at the time of this. I feel very bad for his children, and wife. They must've gone through a whole lot to cope with his mistakes. Despite his mistakes, Stevens was loved by his teammates. He played with Wayne Gretzky in New York and The Great One had nothing but good things to say about him.
"I think the reason people were so drawn to Kevin is he would give the shirt off his back to anybody who needed anything," Gretzky says. "A ride. Somebody to talk to. Kevin was always there. He was comfortable hanging with the captain or the young guys on a team. He was one of those guys nobody disliked."
Perhaps Stevens looked after so many people, that he forgot to look after himself. He retired in 2002.
Kevin Stevens has failed to get his act together, and in May of 2016 (this month) he was charged with intent of selling oxycodone. His son (Luke) will be playing college hockey at Yale, and perhaps eventually in the NHL. Stevens coached youth sports for a short amount of time, but the drug activity will hinder that.
14 Derek Sanderson
Sanderson spent all of his NHL earnings on drugs, sex, and many other stupid endeavors. He was homeless after retiring. Sanderson was forced to pay his attorney a lot of money for problems in which he inflicted. It should be noted that he made nearly $3 million in his career, but lost basically all of it. “I’m different,” Sanderson said rather casually in an interview. “I have found that I really am different. There’s nobody like me. And not that it’s good or bad.” By the way, if you could get a hand on Sanderson's book entitled "Crossing the Line" it's well worth it as you get to delve into Sanderson's days as an NHL player. He's right in saying he was different.
Ironically, he is now a financial adviser to athletes. I guess he learned from his mistakes, sobered up, and is now teaching people about his mistakes. He seems to be doing well in his old age, and making money pack. His situation isn't as bad as some others who literally blew everything they had, but for more money. Hockey players didn't make as much money when he played.
13 Darren McCarty
Darren McCarty was one of the more beloved players in Red Wings history due to his grit and timely goal scoring. He scored the winning goal of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final and that was also the prettiest goal he ever scored. McCarty filed for bankruptcy during his career in the NHL. Obviously this is strikingly uncommon, and he must have made some very stupid business moves. He owed over $6 million to the bank, and only had around $2 million in his name (assets).
Today, Darren McCarty is married in Michigan. He wrote a book about himself titled "My Last Fight". The autobiography has sold successfully, and Darren has made a good buck on the book. He is most likely still inching his way back up to a normal lifestyle. McCarty's days of fighting on the ice are over, but to this day, he is still battling addiction, as all addicts have to do. As he says in his book: "I have faith that my life will eventually work out, as long as I continue to fight against my addiction. I know I can't give in because this disease has fatal consequences. That's why this is my last fight, and why it's the most important fight I have ever had.”
12 Chris Nilan
Chris Nilan was what hockey fans affectionately called an enforcer on the ice. He loved hitting people, and stood up for his teammates. Unfortunately, ge eventually got addicted to a certain drug, and struggled with alcoholism. It should be noted he was charged with shoplifting in 2009. He lost a lot of earnings and self respect that day.
Nowadays, Nilan has his own radio show in Montreal titled "Off The Cuff". He is very open about his past mistakes in NHL, and admits to his blunders. Chris Nilan refueled his life with something he loves, and I applaud him for doing that.
"I love my life. I'm comfortable in my own skin. I ended up in a bad place, and I lost myself. I started learning about alcohol and drug addiction," reflected Nilan. "I got to the other side. I didn't have opportunities to do anything when I was messed up. No one wants to deal with someone like that. I don't blame them. I now have people that have faith in me and willing to give me a second chance at life."
11 Mike Modano
Mike Modano made a couple bad investments. Modano lost nearly $4 million when he took a leap of faith investing in an entertainment corporation. He lost everything for a short amount of time, but worked his way to where he is now. Modano often recounts this as the stupidest mistake of his life.
"From day one, I was really vigilant and very cautious--just play and keep putting it away," Modano recalls. "After 13 years, I was in a position where I could possibly take a couple of chances. I felt excited about it."
Needless to say, Modano regretted his decision heavily. "Our cash flow as professional athletes doesn't last forever, and you need to just let it be and take care of itself."
Today Modano golfs, and he actually did own a restaurant and bar in Texas, but it closed in 2012. He is the Vice President of and Founder of The Mike Modano Foundation. He increases literacy and education, and raises awareness for low income areas. While it's unfortunate Modano had to go through this, at least it can serve as a cautionary tale to athletes looking to invest their money.
10 Mike Vernon
Mike Vernon got screwed by Len Barrie. Barrie got him to invest in "Bear Mountain" which didn't do so hot. Vernon invested nearly $10 million, and lost a lot of that money. The project was a failure and Barrie was irresponsible. Vernon struggled to regain momentum. Vernon had a long and very prosperous career, but just like that nearly all of his earnings were washed away. Keep in mind, Vernon wasn't playing in an era that handed out ridiculous contracts. Despite Vernon being a fringe Hall of Fame goaltender, he simply wasn't able to earn the money someone of his caliber would have made in an age like today.
Today, Vernon has been involved in real estate in Canada, and also focuses on fathering his children. Vernon is married, and has four children. He's mostly kept quiet in his post NHL life. He played in the 2011 alumni game at the Calgary heritage classic. Vernon never seemed to be the same after his bad investment, and many say that it was a real blow to his self esteem.
9 Michael Peca
Peca made a lot of money in the NHL, and just as simply, lost a big chunk of it. Peca made the poor decision to invest in a Mexican golf course. Their financial adviser Phil Kenner, who duped Peca into investing, is currently in jail. Kenner spent the investment money on various things, including alcohol. Peca had dais he invested with Kenner because of the trust he had built with him.
"I met Phil when I was 22, and he built a relationship with me and he knew how to play off that relationship,” Peca told the New York Daily News. “It’s like a movie, when you say, ‘How did I miss that?’ and then you go back and re-watch it and see how subtle it was.”
Today, Michael Peca lives in New York, away from his home country of Canada. Peca has two children, and a wife named Kristin. Peca sometimes will do interviews the ESPN about stuff that had gone on with his career, and memories involving it. Once again, Peca's tale is that of a warning sign to athletes on where to invest their money once they retire.
8 Theo Fleury
Fleury violated the NHL substance code of conduct many times. He did drugs, and drank a lot of alcohol. He also was an avid gambler, which lost him a lot of money. Fleury struggled with countless financial issues in NHL, and lost a lot of money he earned. Fleury's troubles stemmed from his youth hockey days when he was sexually abused by his coach, Graham James.
Eventually, Theo published a book "Playing with Fire", noting his mistakes, and crazy adventures in NHL. He even says he almost killed himself at one point, but realized that would be the dumbest move of all. Fleury is trying to regain purpose in his life by writing, and being with loved ones. He's actually become a country singer and his first album I Am Who I Am has been well received.
In an interview with MacLeans in 2009, Fleury said he has now overcome his demons. “One thing I’ve come to realize is that, without Graham James I still would have had the same career. I look back on the way I played the game, and to be honest, there were not a lot of guys as naturally talented as I was. Add in my fierce, competitive edge and all those little intangibles—that’s what made me great. It was all part of me before I met Graham James.”
7 Slava Voynov
Slava was arrested for domestic violence, and he always has been pretty violent. Apparently, he choked his wife, and was very physical towards her. Voynov was making good money but threw it all away, when he decided to hurt his loved one. The NHL decided to take a strong stance against domestic abuse. From a PR standpoint it was practically a must, given that the news on this came on the heels of the NFL handing Ray Rice a mere two-game suspension. Either way, it's for the best that the NHL decided to act strongly and essentially kick Voynov out of the league.
Today, Voynov is back on the ice, but it took him ways to get there. He pleaded not guilty to the charges regarding domestic violence, and only went to 90 days of jail. He was detained by the U.S. Immigration department, and then released. He played in the KHL for SKA St. Petersburg this past season. It's unlikely that he'll ever be welcomed back to the NHL.
6 Bryan Berard
Berard was another victim of Phil Kenner and his trickery. Berard lost over $6 million in investment money, and helped the FBI get Kenner. Kenner and his business partner, Tommy Constantine, were acting highly fraudulent. Berard explained this in an interview to The National Post. Berard began to get suspicious of Kenner once he started to pay more attention to his savings and where exactly the money was going. “I started paying attention to a lot of the operating deals we were in, and Kenner had more equity than a lot of the players that I knew had hard cash in the deals. Kenner had a larger piece of the pie than he should have,” Berard said.
At 39 years old, Berard eventually got a lot of money back from the government. Berard recounts his eye injury which took his career in another direction, and ultimately ended it. Berard ended up making a lot of money back, and then some. Insurance paid him a nifty $18 million. Fortunately, it worked out for Berard, but it's yet another cautionary tale that you have to be careful who you do business with.
5 Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr is one of the legends of the game of hockey. Orr's fraudulent sports agent (Alan Eagleson), aided him to being nearly bankrupt. He was highly in debt, and owed thousands to the government.
Today, he is a sports agent and represents players. Orr works for good service to his players, so what transpired with him, doesn't occur with his players. One major client of his in particular, is the Oilers' budding superstar in Connor McDavid. McDavid is on the path to a very long, historic NHL career. Orr wanted to be there for McDavid to ensure nothing bad happened to him. "I'm very lucky to have him around in my life," McDavid told CBC. "He's been a great support guy for me that I can go to if I have any questions or any concerns. He's been through it all, he's done anything that a hockey player wants to do. He's done it all. If there's one guy you can go to talk to, he's a pretty darn good guy to go to."
With his new career as an agent, Orr has since then gotten back on his feet, and made some money.
4 Sergei Fedorov
The common theme in this article, is players making poor investments. That was the case with the former Red Wing. Fedorov was embezzled for nearly $60 million. Fedorov was forced to become a KHL player, and try to make some buck back. Fedorov had to sell many houses, and some had to be foreclosed.
Fedorov explained in an interview with the Palm Beach Post of how he and Joseph Zada, he man that conned him, got so close: “He was very nice when he talked,” the 45-year-old Hall of Famer said. “We had very deep discussions. He was very smart. We shared a passion for cars and nice things in life.”
Even though Fedorov was a millionaire and lived the good life, it still makes fans sick to their stomach that a legend like that could be swindled.
Today, Fedorov is the GM for the CSKA Moskow KHL team. He lives in Moscow, and ended up winning a big lawsuit. While he won the lawsuit over Joseph Zada, he has been unable to collect on the judgment. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame late last year.
3 Bryan Trottier
Bryan Trottier led the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups in the early 80s. He was perhaps the greatest player in franchise history, but he hit a rough patch after retirement. Trottier opened an ice-rink business but filed for bankruptcy in 1994. Trottier was not only filing for bankruptcy, but also was feeling suicidal.
Trottier has since made his living mostly as a coach in the NHL. He won a Stanley Cup as an assistant with Colorado in 2001, and soon took a job as head coach of the New York Rangers, which was blasphemous to fans from Long Island. He is now an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres. He has kept pretty quiet regarding the past mistakes he made with his money. Ultimately, let's just be thankful that Trottier was able to overcome those troubles and is now back with a job in the NHL. While losing all that money was tough, things could have ended up a lot worse.
2 Dany Heatley
Dany Heatley's career was once so full of promise, but his personal troubles always seemed to overshadow his on-ice performance. There were extremely high hopes for him to be the NHL's next big superstar. While Heatley enjoyed several great seasons, it always felt that he was never quite able to reach his full potential. There was the car accident that resulted in teammate Dan Snyder passing away and that wasn't the only one of Heatley's troubles. In 2012, Heatley's financial adviser made $4 million in unauthorized withdrawals from Heatley's account. Heatley sued Stacey McAlpine for $11 million and McAlpine has been sued by other clients as well.
Heatley's NHL career is essentially over, but he's now playing hockey in Germany for the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers. His team made it to the DEL semifinals. Heatley tallied 19 goals and 18 assists in 59 regular season games. Hockey fans are left to wonder how Heatley's career would have gone had he been able to avoid so many personal troubles in his daily life.
1 Jack Johnson
The NHL All Star filed for bankruptcy, because his parents were bad with his money. Even though he earned nearly $10 million, he was left with $50,000 of assets. He made a mistake that couldn't have been prevented, because who wouldn't trust mom and dad. Johnson's parents made bad business decisions and spent money on things that were not necessary.
Johnson didn't comment on the matter in great detail. “I’d say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path,” Johnson, told The Dispatch. “I’ve got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.”
Jack Johnson is at the grindstone still playing hockey. He's working to make money back, and changed his money managers. Johnson sued a bank for $1.5 million, and won. He said he is not interested in taking legal action against his parents, because he loves them. He knows they made many mistakes, and will work it out with them, and they will do so as a family. Johnson's still earning good money in the NHL, so hopefully from here on out, he's smarter with it and sets himself up for a future after hockey.
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