The National Hockey League (NHL), like all major sports organizations, has had its fair share scandals usually involving miscreant players, coaches and managers. What follows, in no particular order are the biggest scandals of the NHL.
Robert Alan Eagleson was a Canadian lawyer, sports agent and a main force behind the NHL Players’ Association. However, over his years of association with the players’ union and several international hockey tournaments, as a long investigation showed, Eagleson had been skimming money and padding his bills for services to the union for years. His most egregious action was withholding information from Bobby Orr about an offer of part ownership in the Boston Bruins. Without knowledge of the offer, Orr signed with Chicago. Eagelson was found guilty of fraud, disbarred and served six months in prison.
Robert Prober played forward for both the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, known as an enforcer during his career; Prober had series of run-ins with the law on both sides of the Canadian-US border. The most noteworthy of these brushes was in 1989 when he was crossing the border from Canada to the US with expired immigration papers, a search of his car and person discovered amphetamines and several grams of cocaine. He was arrested for drug possession, he served 3 month and was banned for life from hockey. However, the ban was later lifted and he continued to play for the Redwings.
Rick Tocchet, assistant coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, was arrested in 2006. The charges stemmed from him having taken part in a massive gambling scheme. The illegal gambling ring was huge; forty days before being arrested Tocchet had knowledge of some over 1.5 million dollars American worth of bets being placed. Tocchet plead guilty and got two years probation.
On Jan. 22, 2000, the New York Rangers defeated the St. Louis Blues 4 to 1. While apparently celebrating this victory, the Rangers’ Kevin Stevens, was arrested that night for having a hooker, the hooker’s pimp, a bottle of whisky and some crack cocaine in his room. As a result of this, he entered the NHLs rehab program. After his release he would play three more seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Billy Tibbetts played a mere eighty-two games in the NHL. Even before signing a contract in 2000 with the Penguins, he had a bad record and it didn’t get any better while he was playing. In 1992 he plead guilty to statutory rape receiving probation. In 1994 and 1995 he plead guilty to assault and battery, had his probation revoked and served 39 months in prison. In his short career Tibbetts received multiple suspensions and was traded twice.
Scandals and sports sometimes seem to go hand in hand, and the NHL is no more exempt from that than any other professional sport.