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July 25, 2014

Tony Demers: Hockey's Baddest Man

Much has been made this summer about the jailing of former NHLer Patrick Cote. The veteran of 105 NHL games with Dallas, Nashville and Edmonton (he scored just one goal and had 377 penalty minutes) was sentenced to 30 months in prison for armed robbery when he robbed two banks.

Cote has a criminal history of drug, assault, robbery, aggravated assault and break and enter. And hockey is no different than any other cross-segment of the population. There are lots of examples of hockey players with off-ice problems including jail time - Michael McBain, Mike Danton, Craig MacTavish, Rob Ramage, Billy Tibbetts, and Stan Jonathan are just a few.

Then there is the case of Tony Demers. Demers played parts of 5 seasons with the Montreal (and one game with the New York Rangers) during the World War II years. In 83 career NHL games he scored 20 goals and 42 points. He then went on to become a notable senior hockey player in Sherbrooke.

But that notable post-NHL career came to an abrupt end in 1949 when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of a woman he was having an affair with. He originally faced murder charges but the jury was kind to him. He served less than 7 years of his term, too.

Demers had a troubled past. He assaulted a hotel keeper and stole money. He later got into trouble for being a ringer in the QSHL match where heavy money was found to be bet on the outcome. Allegations of ties with gamblers flew rampantly but died off soon thereafter thanks to the murder/manslaughter charges he faced.

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