Man Dubbed “Real Life Tony Soprano” Turned Minor League Hockey Team into WWE on Ice Until Busted by Feds – You’ve Got to See This!
It’s the Sopranos meets Slap Shot – with the Mighty Ducks thrown into the mix. That pretty much sums up “Crime & Penalties”, the latest installment of the Netflix “Untold” documentary series. It focuses on a minor league hockey team called the Danbury Trashers, from the now-defunct United Hockey League, that was owned by the “real-life Tony Soprano,” and run by his son A.J. The only thing missing is a Carmela and a Meadow. Fuhgeddaboudit.
Jimmy Galante was the carting king of Connecticut, with refuted, alleged ties to the Genovese crime family, who built a $100 million garbage empire, and spent six months in federal prison for tax evasion. According to court papers obtained by The Atlantic – “For nearly two decades, Galante’s enterprise promoted a climate of fear through violence, threats of violence, economic sanctions and threats of economic sanctions.”
Galante played hardball, but he had a soft spot for his son A.J. After A.J. saw the Disney film “The Mighty Ducks”, he became obsessed with hockey. That led dad to buy an expansion team in the UHL, and name his 17-year old mini-me as president and general manager.
A.J. was also a huge professional wresting fan, so the Trashers were handpicked and groomed to play a brand of hockey that would fit right into Wrestlemania.
The Trashers trashed opponents, and the rule book, as they brawled their way to two straight winning seasons – and a trip to the finals. They did it with an assortment of colorful and violent characters like Rumun Ndur who was nicknamed “the Nigerian Nightmare” and Brad “Wingnut” Wingfield, a guy who managed to rack up 576 penalty minutes in one season. Then there was David “one eyed willy” Beauregard, a minor-league hockey veteran who got slashed in the face and lost sight in his left eye and his shot at the NHL.
In the doc, “the Wingnut” describes how Jimmy Galante himself called him right before the very first game, and told him “the minute the puck drops, drop your gloves.” He did. Blood splattered the ice. The crowd went wild. And a legend was born. One brawl became so bad, the TV feed was cut as it turned into a bloody riot. But the doc obtained footage from good-old video cameras, so you get to see it in all its gory glory.
But, the good times only lasted two years, then the FBI buried the Danbury Trashers. While the fans were watching the puck, the feds were eyeing Galante and they used the team to bring down his garbage empire.
After the bureau was tipped off about possible “illegal practices in the trash hauling industry,” it got up close and personal with the Trashers. The feds sent an undercover officer, posing as a salesman, into Galante’s garbage business, and before long that same guy had prime seats in the owner’s box – right behind Galante. That was followed by wire taps and search warrants, and the whole nine yards.
According to The Atlantic, the wiretaps caught Galante associates talking about “retain(ing) the services of a leg-breaker known as the Carpenter,” and also talking about refuted Genovese crime family boss Matty “the Horse” Ianniello because they were concerned the horse was actually a “canary” who would sing to the feds.
When the FBI raided Galante’s office, they reportedly came away with $500,000 in cash, 5,000 boxes of documents and some papers that proved devastating for the refuted, alleged head of one of the infamous five families.
Galante got pinched, and so did Matty “the Horse.” Galante was charged with 72 counts, including extortion, witness tampering and racketeering. One of the wire fraud charges alleged that Galante placed Trashers players and their wives on payroll for one of his disposal companies & exceeded the UHL salary cap by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Galante pled guilty to a few of the charges and spent 87 months in federal prison. Ianniello spent 18 months in the can. And, just three months after Galante was arrested, the Trashers were bagged and trashed – for good.
You’ve got to check it out on Netflix now!
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