A.J. Galante was 17 years aged erstwhile his father, Jimmy, dubbed “the real-life Tony Soprano,” talented him a insignificant league hockey squad named the Danbury Trashers successful 2004. Just 2 years later, his father, besides the caput honcho of a garbage removal empire with suspected mafia ties, was indicted connected respective charges, which included defrauding the present defunct United Hockey League — prompting the disbandment of the team.
First and foremost, A.J. was devastated for his dad, who ultimately went to situation for 7 years. On the different hand, the Trashers, which were based successful his hometown of Danbury, Conn. (approximately 55 miles northeast of New York City), were everything to A.J. His full satellite revolved astir it and abruptly it was gone.
“Especially close aft the team, I didn’t privation thing to bash with hockey,” A.J., present 34, told The Post successful a caller telephone interview. “It’s not similar it was hockey’s responsibility what happened, it was conscionable similar PTSD almost. I stopped watching hockey, I stopped going to the game.
“It was pugnacious due to the fact that everyplace I would go, [the team] was each anybody wanted to speech to maine about, ‘Oh, we privation the squad was inactive here, erstwhile are you bringing them back?’ And it’s like, ‘Dude, we’re not bringing them back, it can’t happen.’ I had to woody with that connected a play basis.”
A.J. turned to a vocation successful boxing, which helium said filled the void near by the Trashers. He inactive lives successful Danbury contempt respective opportunities to leave, but A.J. said helium didn’t privation to consciousness similar helium was moving away. Now, A.J. owns Champ’s Boxing Club successful downtown Danbury, wherever he’s worked with nonrecreational and amateur fighters for the past 6 ¹/₂ years.
But erstwhile Netflix approached him to marque a documentary connected the Danbury Trashers, A.J. said his emotion of hockey was reignited.
At the extremity of August, the streaming work released “Untold: Crime and Penalties,” the ludicrous communicative of however a suspected mobster purchased an enlargement insignificant league hockey squad for $500,000 and enactment his teenage lad successful charge.
The documentary describes the Trashers arsenic the atrocious boys of hockey and shows however they terrorized the UHL, teams and league officials alike. Additionally, the hour-and-25-minute flick outlines the sketchy concern that occurred wrong the organization, including paying players nether the array and putting players’ wives connected the garbage company’s payroll.
The Trashers’ payroll was the highest successful the league. Was it legal? Absolutely not. Galante utilized wealth from elsewhere to money overmuch of his operation, which included pranks connected visiting teams concocted by his son. They would person the vigor mysteriously spell disconnected successful the opposing locker country oregon acceptable the occurrence alarm disconnected successful the visitors’ edifice successful the mediate of the night.
Among the players who the Trashers brought successful included Jon Mirasty, a existent hockey goon who had astir 400 punishment minutes successful his archetypal twelvemonth arsenic a professional. There was Rumun “Nigerian Nightmare” Ndur, the erstwhile Sabres, Rangers and Thrashers heavyweight whose fights were ever memorable. Brad Wingfeld was different pugnacious feline they brought in. Clips from the documentary amusement his gruesome injuries during his clip successful Danbury, including 1 of his legs pointing successful the incorrect absorption and portion of his digit missing aft different incident.
What made the Trashers specified a captivating subject, speech from each the amerciable activity, was the undeniable amusement worth their communicative held. A.J. comprised a squad of players with an borderline and a spot connected their shoulder, galore of whom threw arsenic galore punches successful a crippled arsenic they had shots connected goal. Footage showed fans overflowing the Danbury Ice Arena stands, and going perfectly bananas implicit each tussle and hit.
It appears today’s hockey fans are eating up the thrashing Trashers arsenic well.
“Luckily, I re-trademarked the logo past year,” A.J. said. “It’s similar we’re moving a afloat pro store again and we don’t person a team. We started releasing jerseys again. It’s crazy. It’s similar doing this each implicit again, 16 years, 17 years later. But it’s not similar we person a crippled coming up immoderate clip soon, truthful it’s benignant of surreal.
“It’s benignant of popped close now, people, not adjacent hockey fans, person been reaching out, they conscionable privation a shirt, a hoodie, a jersey, anything, a hat. It’s truly ne'er been astir the money, it’s conscionable chill to spot however acold the logo goes and each the antithetic places wherever supporters are from.”
Full disclosure: A.J. is simply a Devils fan.
The biggest sanction connected the Trashers’ roster was Mike Rupp, who played 5 seasons for the Devils aft the enactment drafted him successful 2000. Rupp besides played 2 seasons for the Rangers, but helium is champion known for scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching extremity — and the archetypal playoff extremity of his vocation — successful the 2003 Cup Final to unafraid the Devils’ 3rd championship.
One of the astir notable Trasher signings, however, was Ndur, the erstwhile Ranger.
“He was 1 of our archetypal signings that archetypal twelvemonth successful 2004,” A.J. said of Ndur, who besides played for the Sabres and the now-extinct Atlanta Thrashers. “Honestly, it was conscionable a sanction that came crossed our table and determination was an availability there. We looked astatine his vocation and helium played astatine the highest level, truthful it was thing we pounced connected conscionable to person a feline similar that, an all-around defenseman.
“He brought a toughness factor, helium brought a spot of credibility to the lineup being that helium played for the Rangers, the Sabres. It was truly chill to adjacent person the accidental to bring him successful that archetypal year.”
Ndur played conscionable 46 games for the Trashers, but inactive managed to rack up a staggering 289 punishment minutes to spell on with 3 goals and 9 assists. The Nigeria-born defenseman was hardly the lone carnal subordinate connected the team. The Trashers combined for an absurd 2,776 minutes successful the container passim the 2004-05 season.
If you haven’t heard — you decidedly person — the existent Rangers acceptable retired this offseason, close astir the clip the Trashers documentary dropped, to add immoderate nastiness to their lineup. After stockpiling top-10 draught picks with precocious accomplishment levels, Rangers brass knew they needed to equilibrium retired the lineup — and it was exasperated by lopsided losses to carnal teams similar the Islanders, Bruins and Capitals past season.
General manager Chris Drury brought successful seasoned enforcer Ryan Reaves, who has been an infectious beingness successful the Rangers locker country and was seen during grooming campy giving the now-in-limbo Vitali Kravtsov warring lessons. In speech for Pavel Buchnevich, Drury acquired Sammy Blais, a heavy-hitting winger with speedy hands. The Rangers besides signed a bottom-six blue-collar rival successful Dryden Hunt to a two-year deal.
A.J. knows a happening oregon 2 astir beefing up hockey lineups.
“The lone happening that utilized to get nether my tegument was radical would accidental each the time, ‘Oh, that squad is specified a circus, I’m definite each the skilled players are embarrassed to beryllium connected that team,’ ” helium said. “It couldn’t person been much the opposite. The skilled players were tripping implicit themselves to play with us, due to the fact that we had six to 8 guys that the different squad wouldn’t adjacent similar effort to poke cheque our skilled players, due to the fact that they knew they had to reply for it.”
“Listen, I grew up an hr northbound of New York City, I cognize the benignant of municipality New York is. I cognize that passionateness of Madison Square Garden. I deliberation a batch of times radical hide that sports is an amusement business. But it doesn’t substance if you’re not winning, winning is lone happening that genuinely matters successful sports. You person to find the equilibrium and springiness the fans what they want.
“I’m telling you, what New York did was highly smart, and that decidedly was a Trashers determination close there.”