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Top 20 NHLers Who Lost Everything

It is certainly not uncommon for professional athletes to lose large sums of money or even to go bankrupt after their playing days have ended, as it appears that there are relatively frequent news items detailing a former millionaire’s precipitous fall from financial grace. It seems that the pitfalls of sudden wealth are much more common among NFL and NBA athletes, but that does not mean that NHLers are completely immune. Many former hockey players have experienced significant loss following the end of their professional hockey careers, and some have even filed for bankruptcy while still in the league.

Financial woes are just one component of the problem. Many NHLers find themselves struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol and wind up losing everything important to them as a result. It may seem unfathomable that an individual who earned so much money throughout the course a professional hockey career could lose everything, but it happens much more frequently than many realize.

Those with sudden wealth are often targeted and taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals who seek money for fraudulent investments, while others are taken advantage of by agents engaging in unsavory business practices. There are even examples of immediate family members taking advantage of a professional contract to secure loans or to make investments on the player’s behalf without the player’s knowledge. The pitfalls that hockey players face are many and it is undeniably difficult to properly manage a massive amount of income with so many people looking to take advantage of the newly wealthy. Unfortunately for the following 20 NHLers, the pitfalls of a life in professional hockey proved to be their undoing and caused them to lose everything.

Some of these stories have happy endings, as the players were able to recover after losing everything, but others are sadder tales, that lead to very sad conclusions to their stories.

20 Darren McCarty

via under30ceo.com

19 Sergei Gonchar

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Gonchar was one of the many players targeted in the Phil Kenner debacle, and Gonchar was one of up to 19 NHLers who were defrauded of as much as $25 million as part of an investment to develop golf courses, hotels and condos on property in Mexico. One of Kenner’s partners, real estate investor Ken Jowdy, allegedly blew all of the investment dollars on adult entertainers and party girls” according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the NHLers involved.

18 Ray Whitney

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

17 Mike Vernon

via redwings.nhl.com

16 Doug Harvey

via canadiens.nhl.com

15 Derek Sanderson

via news.nationalpost.com

14 Dany Heatley

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

13 Kevin Stevens

via thewolf.ca

12 Mike Modano

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

11 Michael Peca

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

10 Chris Nilan

via knucklesnilan.com

Knuckles, who is best remembered for his propensity to fight on the ice, has been able to recover from his past issues, but was involved in a number of incidents and behaviors that led to others on this list to lose it all. Nilan dealt with an addiction to a highly illegal substance and also struggled with alcohol and prescription drugs, and in 2009 was arrested for shoplifting in Massachusetts after attempting to steal a bathing suit from Lord & Taylor, according to The Boston Globe.

9 Theo Fleury

via theglobeandmail.com

8 Bryan Berard

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

7 Bobby Orr

via cbc.ca

6 Sergei Fedorov

via russianmachineneverbreaks.com

5 Slava Voynov

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4 Steve Durbano

via complex.com

3 Brian “Spinner” Spencer

via thehockeywriters.com

2 Bryan Trottier

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

1 Jack Johnson

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In an unbelievable string of events, Johnson was forced to file for bankruptcy due to the poor financial decisions made by his own parents. Johnson had entrusted the people who had raised him to manage his finances so he could focus on his hockey career, which turned out to be such a massive mistake that Johnson himself has said that he trusted “the wrong people.” His parents made so many poor financial decisions that Johnson claimed in the bankruptcy filing that he had was in debt to the tune of $10 million and had less than $50,000 worth of assets, according to Sports Illustrated. The situation is so awful that Johnson’s $5 million salary is currently being garnished. Hopefully, he'll have a long career in the league and be able to come back from this difficult portion of his life.

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Top 20 NHLers Who Lost Everything