This is the second part of a four-part series about jerks in the sporting world. Previously we took a look at the NFL in a two-part series (found here, and here!). Today we will focus on the NHL.
Overall, professional hockey players have a very good reputation for being good people. They spend a lot of their own time and money giving back to the community in which they play. On top of this, hockey players are often seen doing a lot to help out their hometowns and help inspire the next generation of hockey.
Hockey players are also known for taking time out to talk to fans wherever they might meet up. Unfortunately as you are about to find out though, there are a few that are definitely jerks. Well more than a few actually, but in the overall picture of how big the league is, thankfully the number is just a small fraction.
Some of the events that were done by players to make this list will amaze you. One player got into a fight with a cab driver over less than a dollar (despite making millions).
Another player (several actually!) stole the wife of a teammate. Then you have the guys that regularly hand out cheap shots on the ice and those that treat fans horribly. We also have to have the token sexual abuse case because sadly, there is at least one of those in each league. You'll even learn what player was described as a crack monster!
So without further delay let’s take a look at some NHL players that are jerks.
17 Sidney Crosby
16 Corey Perry
15 Martin St. Louis
Hockey fans have loyalties to their favorite team that run deep. But deep down, there are also hockey fans that just love the game. They will go to any hockey game no matter who is playing. Similarly, they like to meet players that play for other teams just as much as they like to meet players from their favorite team. They may not like the team that a certain player plays for, but if they get the chance to meet them, they are usually polite to them.
14 Jay Pandolfo
While playing for the New Jersey Devils in the playoffs one season, Jay Pandolfo encountered a fan after a tough loss. He was approached by a Devils fan in a polite manner and asked for an autograph. Pandolfo told the fan yes, but asked them to hang on one minute and then continued to walk away. When he got about 15 feet away he turned back toward the fan, who was still standing in the same place, and rudely said “Are you still there? Sure I’ll give you an autograph…tomorrow.” He then turned around and continued to walk away.
Everyone that was nearby was stunned. Former NHL player John Madden, who was playing for New Jersey at the time, saw what happened and came over and gave the fan an autograph and took pictures with him.
13 Sean Avery
If there weren’t other players to put on this list Sean Avery could easily take up every spot. He is without question one of the biggest jerks to ever put on an NHL uniform. Though luckily for fans, he was only a jerk on the ice and in the locker room.
One time during a game with the New Jersey Devils, he stood in front of goalie Martin Brodeur and was actually waving his hands in front of Brodeur’s face to block his view. It clearly agitated Brodeur, especially when Avery continued throughout the game. It was one of the most pathetic displays ever on the ice. Then of course you have the comments Avery made about Elisha Cuthbert being someone's “sloppy seconds” and you get the idea of just how low of class this guy has.
To give a good summary of Sean Avery we can quote Ken Holland talking about Avery’s time with the Detroit Red Wings. Holland is one of the most respected people in the game and when he was asked if the team would ever bring Avery back Holland replied that Avery had
12 Brad Marchand
Brad Marchand has several nicknames that have been given to him by just about every other player in the NHL. Most of them we can’t print here, but one of them is ‘brat’. It’s an apt description for him and probably the best of the bunch. He is hated by everyone in the league and while they are more discreet, most players on his team don’t like him either. He is a pretty good player and can score, but he is cocky and is known for giving out cheap shots on the ice any chance that he gets. He is also known as a diver and if he didn’t score a good amount of points, he could challenge Sean Avery for the jerk of the year award.
Countless times he starts fights during games. That is part of the game, but he instigates fights that he has no intention of taking part in. He will bait another player and then run away. What he does like to take part in though is partying. He has been known to get drunk around Boston and then take his shirt off and start dancing on tables. That’s not really how a professional athlete should be acting in public. Actually that’s not how any man should be acting in public. Isn’t the dancing on tables topless usually a woman’s thing?
Marchand reached a new low in 2014 after he taunted the Vancouver Canucks by pretending to lift the Stanley Cup over his head. His Bruins defeated the Canucks for the Cup in 2011 and the move was totally classless. Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was not very happy about it. He said
“Sometimes his emotions get the better of him. The perception it gives our organization is not what you want to see with those kind of things. From what I hear, what happened, that’s definitely not something we will accept in our organization.”
11 Steve Downie
Steve Downie is a dirtbag and a jerk rolled into one. Can you believe that this guy was once a first round draft pick? The only talent that he has on the ice is injuring people, which he did several times in his career. On four different occasions during his career he has racked up over 100 penalty minutes in a season, and twice he topped the 200 minute mark. The numbers would probably be higher, but he is always suspended.
Such as during his rookie year with the Philadelphia Flyers when he was suspended 20 games for leaving his feet while delivering a body check into the boards to Dean McAmmond.
The following season after being demoted to the AHL he was suspended for another 20 games for slashing a linesman. Yes, you read that right.
He had another disturbing incident during his time in the OHL as well. Downie was hazing rookies by getting them naked and shoving them into a very small bathroom on a bus. 16 year old Akim Aliu refused to participate and Downie made sure that he paid a price for it. Shortly after that during a practice, Downie blindsided Aliu and crosschecked him in the face with his stick, knocking out three teeth. He then got into a fight with the much younger Aliu. This was his teammate!
While playing with the Colorado Avalanche Downie also got into a fight with his team captain Gabriel Landeskog which led to Downie's eventual departure from the team.
10 Evander Kane
Evander Kane is a young 24 years old. He has loads of talent, but he doesn’t seem to be too concerned with developing it and as a result, he still hasn’t had that breakout season on the ice. What he does like to do though is flaunt the money that he makes and because of his poor attitude, trouble seems to easily find him.
The writing is on the wall here of a player that is going to get himself into serious trouble and it could be sooner rather than later. While playing with the Winnipeg Jets he displayed his cocky attitude in the dressing room until teammates finally got tired of it. Dustin Byfuglien even took Kane’s clothes and tossed them in the shower one time to let him know that the team was growing tired of his attitude. Kane was traded to the Buffalo Sabres very shortly after that.
He loves to post photos on his Instagram account of him and money, including pictures of himself holding large amounts of cash. Nobody needs to be reminded of his arrogance on that often of a basis!
9 Mike Ribeiro
Mike Ribeiro is known as a drinker with an attitude problem. That is never a good combination as the Phoenix Coyotes found out in 2014. They bought him out of his four year contract after just a single season. And the team didn’t hide the fact that it was because of his drinking and associated attitude problem. A source from the team said that he was “late for practices, missed meetings, missed buses, and even engaged in a shouting match with (Head Coach Dave) Tippett in the locker room after a game in Colorado.”
He is another guy that is a master diver and I’m not talking about the deep sea kind. Any time that someone makes contact with him he fakes a serious injury only to be just fine moments later.
But let’s move on to the real issues with Ribeiro. He and his wife hired a nanny to help out with their kids. As he changed teams the nanny came with the family. She started working with them around the age of 12 and shortly after she turned 18, a huge bombshell came into public knowledge.
Ribeiro had sexually assaulted the nanny on several occasions and to make matters even worse, his wife Tamara knew all about it and did nothing to stop it. Ribeiro tried to blame it all on his drinking. But at least one occasion happened in a car that he was driving, so that doesn’t appear to be the truth in at least some of the instances. The nanny sued the couple and the case was settled out of court. There are no reports of what the payoff was, but you can bet that it was a considerable amount.
8 Brendan Shanahan
Being a good teammate is a key part to team chemistry. In most cases good team chemistry will lead to success on the ice. But I don’t think that stealing a teammate’s wife falls into the category of being a good teammate.
Shanahan was one of the best players in NHL history. He was a key component to many Stanley Cup Championship teams, but during the 1995 season rumors started that he was sleeping with teammate Craig Janney’s wife Catherine. You can see the draw for her. She probably wanted a better player to be with and Shanny was at the top of his game while Janney was a borderline player. It’s not right either way you look at it and that doesn’t justify it at all, but if that was her thought process I guess it makes sense.
Soon after the rumors got stronger Shanahan was traded to the Hartford Whalers from the St. Louis Blues. That was a pretty severe punishment as Hartford was where NHL players took their careers to die. He made it very clear to the Whalers that he didn’t want to play for them and he didn’t last long in Hartford.
7 Kevin Stevens
Kevin Stevens had a pretty good career on the ice. Four times he scored over 80 points in a season and he won two Stanley Cups. But he also liked to drink and do drugs. This can lead to situations like when he was arrested with a prostitute in 2000 while doing crack. To make matters worse, his pregnant wife was home waiting for him to come home from a road trip.
While Stevens was playing for the New York Rangers the team had just finished off a win over the St. Louis Blues, in St. Louis. The team was leaving the next day for Atlanta so Stevens decided to go out and have some fun.
After visiting a nightclub Stevens hopped into a cab and went over to East St. Louis where the cab driver called a prostitute friend of his. Stevens is either one brave man or just pretty stupid based on that decision alone. Anyone that has ever been to East St. Louis knows how dangerous it is there. You don’t stop at stop lights in that neighborhood during the day, let along go there at night in a cab.
Stevens was smoking crack in the cab when the woman arrived and gave her $500 for her services. Then they went to another street corner down the block and bought more crack for $500. The three of them went to a motel and were all smoking it when the cab driver caused a disturbance. Police were called to the scene and all three of them were arrested.
6 Eric Lindros
Eric Lindros was a jerk even before the Quebec Nordiques made him the #1 overall draft pick in the 1991 NHL Draft. When it became obvious that he was going to be drafted by the Nordiques he made it clear that he didn’t want to play there. Then when they did draft him, he wouldn’t report to them. He refused to have anything to do with the team and forced them to trade him to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Players play hockey their entire life for a shot at the NHL. Lindros had the privilege of being the top overall pick and wouldn’t report to the team. That alone gets him on this list.
To add to his legend Lindros started banging teammate Rod Brind’Amour's wife, leading to an incident between the two men. Brind’Amour was eventually traded to Carolina. At least Lindros didn’t marry her.
5 Gary Bettman
An NHL jerks list without Commissioner Gary Bettman on it is a list that is incomplete. Bettman is clearly the most hated man in sports, and for good reason. Hockey fans are passionate about their favorite sport and that’s never more evident than when Bettman makes a public appearance. He is booed wherever he goes and he is part of some of the funniest videos in sports history.
Take a look at any video of Bettman presenting the Stanley Cup to a winning team. The arena is roaring with celebration (if the home team wins the Cup) but as soon as Bettman takes the ice and starts to talk, that same arena is roaring with boos in just a matter of moments. Not even presenting the Stanley Cup to their favorite team is enough to save him from the boos. It’s hilarious to watch and it’s played out every summer in an arena somewhere.
He has been running the NHL for over 20 years now and while the game has improved in certain aspects, the overall picture shows that he has ruined the game that we once knew.
4 Slava Voynov
Slava Voynov is a prime example of a player that threw it all away. And that’s not just money and a promising career. That includes his entire life.
Voynov was one of the top defensemen in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings and he had a long career ahead of him. In late 2014, he was arrested for domestic violence charges against his wife. He was promptly suspended indefinitely by the NHL. The Kings however tried to get around this by letting him practice with the team. They were fined $100,000 for their actions, but it should have been move severe.
Voynov’s wife, Marta, told police that her husband choked her during a fight along with trying to throw her into a television. He also slapped and punched her.
He had to serve 90 days in jail and was given three years of probation along with being ordered to go to counselling. When he was released from jail, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody.
It became very clear that Voynov was going to get booted from the country for his actions, but he beat them to the punch and left on his own. In late 2015 he released a statement that said
"Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players' Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family. I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey, who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the Players of the LA Kings success in the future."
3 Dennis Wideman
Jerks and dirtbags come in all forms, but any time a player puts his hands on an official on the ice he can be considered a jerk. When a player uses his stick on an official he can be considered much worse. You can use your imagination to come up with the other words that could be used for Dennis Wideman.
Earlier this season Wideman was suspended for 20 games for cross checking linesman Don Henderson from behind with his stick. Wideman said that it was an accident and blamed it on a concussion, but one look at the video shows that it was no accident. There was absolutely no need for contact of any kind to be made between the two.
Even if accidental contact was to be made in that situation, it would have been just the two of them bumping into each other. Not a hockey stick clearly being lifted up and shoved into the back of a man that was facing the other way. By the way, a man that is not wearing standard hockey equipment.
Sorry Dennis, but we aren’t buying it and anyone that puts their hands on an official during a game should be thrown out of the league forever.This is another case of Gary Bettman allowing the game to decline. A twenty game suspension isn’t nearly enough.
2 Patrick Kane
Sometimes you have a jerk and sometimes you have an idiot. Sometimes you even get someone that’s got both characteristics wrapped up in one. Meet Patrick Kane. Kane is no stranger to negative publicity, including being the face of a sexual assault allegation. Kane is also no stranger to the party scene, with several photos out there of him having a substance-fuelled time.
Kane also has an infamous incident that happened to him one night when he was out with his cousin. They were taking a cab and the cab driver didn’t have the exact change for him. The details of the story vary on the amount of change that it was, but it ranges from 20 cents to 47 cents.
Since the cab driver didn’t have the exact change to give back to Kane, he and his cousin beat up the middle aged cabbie and stole their money back. That’s officially considered robbery and assault, so you shouldn't be shocked that the police agreed.
1 Ed Belfour
Ed Belfour, known as The Eagle, was one of the best goalies in the history of the NHL. When he played for your squad you knew that they had a good shot at the Stanley Cup that year. Unfortunately for him, and anyone else that might run into him, Belfour had a drinking problem and poor people skills. They were usually directly tied together, but not all the time.
One time the Hall of Famer locked himself out of his hotel room. Not a big deal right? Not until you realize he was drunk and naked! But in his defense, he didn’t treat anyone poorly during that incident. Maybe that’s because he was more embarrassed than anything else.
But in March of 2000 he went over the edge. He was playing for the Dallas Stars at the time and he had taken a lady of the evening to his hotel room. When he got drunk and belligerent the woman got scared and called hotel security. When security approached him, Belfour slammed a 50 year old security guard against the wall and put him in a headlock. During the scuffle he kicked two men in the chest. He was finally pepper sprayed and put into a squad car where he puked all over himself. But that didn’t end things. He spit at officers and was kicking at the windows of the car. He then offered cops $100,000 if they let him go. When they refused to take the bribe, Belfour increased his offer to $1 billion. He later offered an empty apology for his actions.
Belfour has also been known to treat fans poorly. There have been several occasions that he has refused to sign autographs. One might understand this if they are bombarded with a crowd of people, but on a few occasions he refused to sign anything even in a one on one setting. One time he even threatened to beat up a fan simply for asking for an autograph.
In 2007 he was arrested again in Miami Beach while playing for the Florida Panthers. He was at bar with a teammate and at closing time he didn’t want to leave. The police were called to remove Belfour from the club. When they approached him the goalie walked toward them and took a fighting stance and pushed one of the officers. He’s lucky that he didn’t get shot. He then grabbed the shirt of the officer but lost his balance and fell down and continued fighting with the officers. At least this time he didn’t puke all over himself. Cheers Eddie!
Sources: sportsworldnews.com, bleacherreport.com, espn.go.com, thesportster.com, cbsnews.com, nytimes.com
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