January 17, 2012
Dean Turner: Bad Impressions
Smart enough to drop out of school. Mind you, he had pretty tempting reasons. He was drafted 44th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1978 Entry Draft. The defenseman had a chance to turn pro in 1978-79.
His professional hockey career was not terrible impressive. Five well travelled seasons mostly in the minor leagues. He did crack NHL rosters with three different organizations - the Rangers, the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Kings. But he never made much of an impression anywhere, scoring just one goal in 35 career games.
He very much did leave an impression on Colorado Rockies coach Don Cherry, but not a favorable one. I love this story from Brian McFarlane's book Colour Commentary:
"I brought up a story that Cherry told me about the time he picked up a new player, Dean Turner, at the airport and took him home. Rose (Cherry's wife) made the kid some sandwiches and he sat in the living room polishing them off while Cherry's dog Blue sat his feet, mouth drooling. Cherry was pissed off. Here this kid is bolting down the food and he wouldn't give Blue so much as a crust. Don knew that Turner wouldn't be around long after that."
Soon enough Turner was back in the minor leagues. He retired from pro hockey in 1983.
His post-hockey days were more interesting than his time on the ice. He went into financial services business after his retirement, co-founding Lease Equities, Inc., and later becoming a senior vice president at Dean Witter Reynolds, where he remained until 1995.
Pretty successful, eh? Well, just a minute.
In 1996, Turner and business partner, William Malek were accused of running a Ponzi scheme. During the period between 1990 and 1995, Turner and Malek were reported to have stolen more than $10 million from these investors, including Turner's own mother. Malek pled guilty to six counts of mail fraud in August 1996 and was sentenced to more than three years in jail. Turner was found guilty on two counts of mail fraud but acquitted of 16 other mail-fraud charges. In January 2000, Turner was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison.