Mobsters and Mayhem: 5 Things To Know About The Danbury Trashers
They billed themselves as the bad boys of hockey, but their antics weren’t limited to the rink.
The Danbury Trashers were the first professional sports team to call the small Connecticut city home when they came to town in 2004, and the team’s owner invested his own money in expanding the city’s ice rink to accommodate 3,000 fans. The team dissolved just two years later—in 2006—but it left more than its mark on minor league hockey.
The manager was only 17 years old
Galante was the owner, but he put his 17-year-old son, AJ, in charge of operations. It was a sort of consolation gift for AJ, who had shown promise on the ice himself, but tore his ACL during a hockey game as a junior in high school. Managing a hockey team was supposed to make up for his career-ending injury.
The team was named for a waste management company
The team’s owner, Jimmy Galante, operated a garbage collection company in Danbury and named the fledgling team after the family businesses—Galante operated a couple dozen waste management companies in Connecticut and neighboring New York. Its mascot was Scrappy, a garbage can with threatening eyes.
The players were pranksters and brawlers
The Trashers often played pranks on visiting teams. According to the New York Post, the heat would be shut off in the visitors’ locker room, or somebody within the organization would make sure the fire alarm was pulled at their opponents' hotel overnight. On the ice, the players were quick to throw a punch. While hockey games are typically very physical, the players wracked up 84 hours worth of penalty minutes during the two seasons they played.
Jimmy faced criminal charges for his hockey hijinks—and the feds seized the team
Jimmy Galante’s operations landed him in hot water. While the United Hockey League (UHL) had salary caps, he paid some of the players off the books, and some of the hockey players’ wives were on payroll at the garbage companies, though they did not actually perform any work. Things weren’t on the up-and-up with the garbage empire either. According to the US Attorney for Connecticut, Jimmy had fixed bids for waste projects, tampered with witnesses, and evaded taxes. As part of his plea deal, he had to give up 25 of the garbage companies, a handful of racecars, and a house. He also lost the hockey team. Jimmy was released from prison in 2014.
AJ found new work in an equally rough sport.
AJ told the New York Post he gave up on hockey after his team was dissolved and his dad went to prison. He considered leaving Connecticut but instead found a new calling: boxing. Today he operates Champs Boxing Club in Danbury, less than a mile from the arena the Trashers called home.