Catch You On The Rebound – True Story
Garbage disposal mogul and owner of the Danbury Trashers (United Hockey League 2004-2006), Jimmy Galante is sometimes credited to be the inspiration for the television mob character Tony Soprano.
Before folding, the Connecticut franchise gained notoriety for their fight-first mentality during games and the rather dubious off- the- ice undertakings, including the fact that Galante’s 17 year-old son A.J. was the general manager.
The Netflix documentary Untold: Crime and Penalties chronicles the crazy times of the Danbury Trashers.
“It was a freak mix of pro wrestling and the Mighty Ducks,” is one tagline.
A tagline which Fort McMurray-born Danny Stewart knows all too well, having been a member of the Trashers from 2005-2006.
“I wouldn’t say playing for the Trashers was a weird experience, maybe unique in itself, but remains one of the best times of my career,” recalls Stewart, from his home in Coventry, Britain where he is the Director of Operation and Head Coach of the Coventry Blaze (British Elite Ice Hockey League).
“We had a great group there that just came up short in the finals. A.J. and Jimmy treated us like family. To this day, I have the utmost amount of respect for them due to how they treated us as people.”
What did Stewart, 42, think of the documentary?
“I thought they did a great job with the movie. They made it fun, and as accurate as they could I believe. I’m sure they could do a 10 part-series and still not cover everything!”
With two older brothers having played high-calibre hockey – Bobby 47, 1992-93 AJHL Rookie of the Year, Fort McMurray Oil Barons; 1998-99 NCAA Champion, Maine Black Bears; 2007-08 Allan Cup Champion, Brantford Blast and then Jay, 44, 2001-02 NCAA III Champion, University of Wisconsin-Superior – did Stewart ever think that he would have made hockey a lifelong pursuit?
“In terms of my career, I always believed I would have a future in hockey. How that would look, I wasn’t sure,” replied Stewart, who is now into his 17th year in Britain where he made the transition from player-to-coach.
“I certainly wouldn’t have known I would come to play in the UK, stay and have a family here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though.”
Three local women made the news at the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Kelsey Mitchell won the gold medal in women’s track cycling while Nicole Ban coached Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team to fourth place at the Paralympics.
“Coaching at my second Paralympics was an amazing experience; Japan did such an incredible job hosting and ensured we were safe while competing as well as at Paralympic village,” said Ban. “Despite falling just short of our goal of reaching the podium, I am beyond proud of our team and excited to see where this next (Paris 2024) takes us.”
Laurie Wiltshire, an inductee into the 2013 Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category for judo, assisted visually-impaired judoka Priscilla Gagné to carry in the Canadian flag during Paralympic Opening Ceremonies.
Gagné would go on to throw her way to a silver medal in -52 kg weight category.
“It was a huge honour to be asked to guide (Gagné) into the opening ceremonies,” said Wiltshire. “It was very different from other games I have been in due to Covid 19, but walking in I still felt an unreal excitement to represent Canada at these Games.”
We are all mortal.
During the last little while in all of the world’s craziness, Fort McMurray quietly said goodbye to Kevin Graves, Len Hodder, Len Marsichuk and Jim Moore.
Each has a legacy in our sports community.
Catch you on the rebound!
About the author
Curtis J. Phillips
Residing in Fort McMurray since 1982, Curtis J. Phillips is a productive sports journalist in print/electronic mediums. He enjoys researching local sports history and was Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Sports Writer from 2008-2019. Recognized as Canada’s Basketball Historian, he is an advocate for community volunteerism.