The NHL is home to hundreds of hockey players across the globe every year. It’s also been home to countless players since its inception a century ago, too.
NHL players have always been expected to conduct model behavior off the ice by staying out of trouble and avoiding any incidents. Of course, these people are only human, and we all make mistakes. It’s just, some incidents that NHL players have committed is just disturbing and bothersome.
The US Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 1 in 110 Americans were incarcerated in 2013. Take the thousands of players to play in the NHL, and the odds of course have been that some players have gotten into trouble with the law. The only problem? Some of these incidents and arrests were just over-the-top sad and ridiculous.
Here is a look at 15 off-the-ice incidents that the NHL doesn’t want you to know about.
15. Dustin Byfuglien’s Drunken Boat Ride
Big Buff has enjoyed his career as a tough power forward/two-way defenceman. He helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the 2010 Stanley Cup and has been named to four All-Star games. But the lovable big bear was no friend of the law, back in the summer of 2011.
A month before the 2011-12 season began, Dustin Byfuglien took his boat onto Lake Minnetonka — one of the most beautiful lakes in the state of Minnesota. The only problem was that Big Buff was drunk during the ride and was arrested. He was given a mere two days of community service for the incident.
Now, the NHL has no problem with players celebrating the offseason with boat trips and all. But Byfuglien took partying to a level of illegality — and that’s an incident the NHL wants us all to forget.
14. Milan Lucic Gets Into Fight at Bar
Who would want to mess with Milan Lucic? The premier NHL power forward is listed at 6-foot-3, 236 pounds. He’s thrown his weight around the league for nearly a decade and is as tough as it gets.. After his Boston Bruins played a game against the Vancouver Canucks in December 2013, Lucic decided to head to a bar in his hometown — and a drunken fan was up to fight him.
The two got into a brawl but police came and put a halt to it. The incident was recorded on video and released to the public — sparking a huge outrage on Lucic’s behavior. The Vancouver native then went as far as to saying he was done defending the city he was from (his family was also harassed during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final).
Though Lucic probably wasn’t to blame for instigating the fight, the fact this was on video makes it an embarrassing moment the NHL wants us to forget. Lucic is only human, but these athletes are always under pressure to keep it perfectly clean off the ice — which is easier said than done.
13. Nikolai Khabibulin’s DUI Case
‘The Bulin Wall” was one of the NHL’s top goalies in the 2000s, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first Stanley Cup in 2004 while owning the greatest nickname in NHL goaltending history.
But Nikolai Khabibulin’s legacy in the NHL took a hit back in February of 2010 — when he was pulled over for driving over 25 MPH in the speed zone. Khabibulin was then detained and arrested by police for drunk driving. He was given a 30-day jail sentence (half of the term was house arrest), but was able to avoid more sinister punishments.
This was just another case of an NHL star failing to lead by example. Drunk driving is an extremely serious offence in today’s society, and it was embarrassing for the league to see one of its own players commit the heinous act. Undoubtedly, a moment the NHL wants us all to forget.
12. Staal Brothers Arrested for DUI
On the ice, Eric and Jordan Staal are great inspirations for young kids playing hockey. How cool would it be to play in the NHL, on the same team, with your very own brother? Each Staal brother owns a Stanley Cup ring, and Eric also has Olympic gold. But off the ice? These two didn’t set a good example back in 2007.
That summer, (according to CBC) Jordan and Eric were celebrating the latter’s bachelor party in Minnesota. But police came responding to noise complaints and arrested 14 people — including the Staal brothers.
Eric spent a night in jail for “obstructing the legal process”, while an 18-year-old Jordan was charged with under-age drinking. Though both brothers avoided harsh sentences, it was simply another night of young guys partying too excessively. The arrest was yet another humiliating moment for the NHL as well as Jordan and Eric’s teams.
11. Claude Giroux Arrested For Groping Officer
People with a lot of money, fame and power will choose to drink alcohol and party hard during vacation time. It’s nothing unheard of, but Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux is anything but a good example of how you should behave if you’re under the influence.
During the 2014 offseason, Giroux was arrested for grabbing the buttocks of a male police officer at a bar in Ottawa. Yes, a drunken Giroux chose to grab the bottom of a male police officer. How ignorant to the law could he truly be?
Giroux spent the night in jail but avoided any serious charges. That being said, this was nothing but a silly incident that should have never taken place. Giroux really embarrassed himself and caused an incident everyone would love to forget, especially the NHL.
10. Frank Beaton Attacks Gas Station Worker
Frank Beaton had a very brief NHL career, playing in just 25 games. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Beaton didn’t need size to scare his opponents. He racked up 43 penalty minutes in those 25 games, earning a reputation as a hockey player who used his fists more than his stick.
Unfortunately, Beaton is best remembered for a terrible incident that only true criminals commit. He pulled over at a gas station in Cincinnati, and the attendant accidentally spilled gasoline on his car. Beaton got angry and knocked the worker out with a punch, and was sued for $48,000.
There was no reason for Beaton to simply attack a man on the job for committing a minor accident. The NHL was all about goons and tough guys back then on the ice. But off the ice? Punching random civilians has never been acceptable.
9. Ed Belfour’s Odd Behavior Leads To Arrest
‘Eddie the Eagle’ Belfour is one of the best men to ever strap on the pads in the NHL. The 1999 Stanley Cup champion and two-time Vezina Trophy winner won 484 career games and registered 76 shutouts. Belfour was a workhorse for multiple teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs.
But Belfour committed one of the most bothering off-the-ice incidents of all-time, which led to his arrest. Back in 2000, police arrived at a Dallas hotel because Belfour was allegedly frightening a woman. Belfour was insanely drunk; resisting arrest, putting someone in a headlock and even offered police $1 billion if they didn’t take him to jail.
Belfour came away with a mere $3,000 fine, but the moment was nothing short of embarrassing for himself, the Stars and the NHL. It’s such a humiliating story that everyone would just love to pretend it never happened.
8. Jarret Stoll Arrested For Possessing Drugs
Stoll helped the Los Angeles Kings win the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup. The fact he’s also dating Fox reporter Erin Andrews has also added spotlights to Jarret Stoll’s life. But there’s a particular spotlight all athletes want to stay out of that Stoll got himself into — and that would be with the law.
During the 2015 offseason, Stoll was arrested for having drugs (including cocaine), at a Vegas hotel. He was able to avoid jail time, however, and was sentenced to community service — and would play one more season in the NHL before retiring.
But again, the NHL (more than any other league), tries to crack down on players using drugs, and this had to be eggs on their faces. Though Stoll has since stayed out of trouble, the NHL doesn’t want any of us to remember one of its two-time Stanley Cup champions as a criminal.
7. Patrick Kane Beats Up Cab Driver
Patrick Kane could go down as the greatest American NHLer of all-time. He’s led the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships, has one Conn Smythe, one scoring title and the 2016 Hart Trophy to his name. Kane is one of the most beloved players in the NHL, but he struggled with maturity early in his career.
No incident was more notable than when he and his cousin got arrested in the summer of 2009, though. We’re talking about the time when they beat up a cab driver in Buffalo for not having 20 cents in change for them. Yes, a guy making millions and his cousin beat up a cab driver over 20 cents.
Kane and his cousin were arrested but avoided serious penalties for staying out of trouble. But this incident embarrassed Kane, his family, his Blackhawks and the NHL. Though he’s grown up a lot since the incident, it’s hard for us fans to forget this case — much to the chagrin of the NHL.
6. Kevin Stevens’ Drug Problems, Arrest
Kevin Stevens was a big part of the Pittsburgh Penguins ’90s juggernaut. He helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992 — registering four 40-goal seasons and twice hitting the 100-point mark. He finished his career with 329 goals and 726 points in 874 games, cementing himself as one of the greatest American-born players in NHL history.
But near the end of his career, Stevens was caught with a prostitute and cocaine in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Stevens hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble since his retirement. Just last year, Stevens was arrested for intending to distribute drugs. Stevens was given a $10,000 fine and sentenced to a three-year probation period.
With the NHL struggling to deal with lawsuits from former players with concussions, they’re not having any fun seeing one of their former stars deal with drug-related problems and the law. Here’s hoping Stevens will be able to turn his life around.
5. Patrick Roy Arrested For Domestic Violence
The NHL would love you to remember the marvelous career of Patrick Roy, who is arguably the greatest goalie in NHL history. He won 551 games, 151 playoff games, four Stanley Cups, three Vezina Trophies and a trio of Conn Smythe Trophies. But part of Roy’s incredible career will be overshadowed for his arrest in 2000.
Early in the 2000-01 season, police arrested Roy after his wife called 911, and he posted a $750 bail. But the charges were dismissed after a judge ruled that the case didn’t meet the requirements for domestic violence.
But the Hall of Famer and former Colorado Avalanche head coach (who was known for his hot temper and attitude problems), did nothing to help his reputation here. Though we don’t know the full details of what happened during this incident, the NHL doesn’t want us to remember the time one of their legends got into trouble with the law.
4. Joe Corvo Beats, Sexually Assaults Woman
Joe Corvo played in 708 NHL games and scored 92 goals and 310 points in his career. He represented USA twice at the World Hockey Championships and helped the Ottawa Senators reach their first-ever Stanley Cup Final in 2007. But Corvo’s career will be overshadowed by committing an act that only the worst of humans could truly do.
In 2002, Corvo was removed from a restaurant for inappropriately touching a woman against her will. After leaving the restaurant, Corvo came back and beat her to the ground. He was given a three-game suspension and three-year suspension sentence for the incident.
For an NHL player to commit sexual assault and then hit a woman (which a real man would never do), is extremely unacceptable and shameful. The top guys in the NHL office must have lost sleep from this disgusting incident.
3. Mark Hardy’s Sex Abuse Charges
Mark Hardy played 915 games in the NHL and scored 62 goals and 368 points. He was part of the 1992-93 Los Angeles Kings team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final, before falling to the Montreal Canadiens. He also worked as an assistant coach for the Kings, but Hardy resigned in 2010 following charges of sex abuse.
That year, Hardy was charged with sexually assaulting a woman at a hotel in Washington while he was heavily intoxicated (according to ESPN). Hardy admitted that he had been drinking since he was 15 and became addicted to alcohol for many years.
Hardy was able to go to rehab for alcohol addiction and has been able to stay away from the drinks since. Though it’s nice to know that he got the help he needed, Hardy’s legal troubles were a black eye for the NHL that we’d all like to forget about.
2. Slava Voynov’s Domestic Violence Case
Slava Voynov had everything going for him. He was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Los Angeles Kings and was one of their best blueliners. Voynov had all the makings to be a star, but he threw it all away by turning from superstar to a major disgrace to the NHL and its fans.
Early in the 2014-15 season, Voynov was arrested for domestic violence towards his wife, Marta Varlamova, and was immediately suspended by the NHL. The accusations were that Voynov viciously assaulted Varlamova (kicking, choking, punching), and even threw her into a television.
She asked for Voynov to not receive any charges, and he was given just 90 days in jail and three years probation. However, the incident essentially ended Voynov’s NHL career. He hasn’t played a game since the arrest, and that probably won’t change.
1. Dan Snyder’s Tragic Death
Atlanta Thrashers centre Dan Snyder was living his dream of playing in the NHL. Before the 2003-04 season began, his life came to an extremely untimely and tragic end. In September 2003, Snyder was the passenger in teammate Dany Heatley’s Ferrari 360 Modena, when Heatley (who was speeding over 20 MPH in the zone), lost control and crashed.
Snyder’s skull was fractured and he went into a coma — before passing away six days later. Heatley avoided jail time (as Snyder’s parents forgave him and didn’t want the penalty to be harsh), but he was given probation and was ordered to speak against speeding.
Snyder’s death was a tragic moment for the NHL, and it could have been avoided if Heatley didn’t go so fast in his fancy sports car. Accidents do happen, though, and this was just an all-around tragedy for everyone. One we all wish never happened.
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