Brent Sapergia had a lengthy minor-league hockey career, with stints in the IHL, AHL, and ECHL dotting his HockeyDB page, which runs through the mid-90s. But you probably know him best for his work as a coach.
Not for his winning record or anything, mind you -- more for this famous tantrum from 2009 when, as coach of the Louisiana IceGators, Sapergia flipped out over a call, and threw pretty much everything on his bench over the boards, save the players and the literal bench on which they sat.
The Gatorade bucket. The medical kit. More than twenty hockey sticks. The loose change in his pockets. Onto the ice it went.
Suffice it to say, that outburst marked the end of Sapergia's coaching career. But boy oh boy, that is not where his story ends. Not even hardly.
On Monday, Sapergia was sentenced to probation after cooperating with Federal prosecutors to help bring down the multi-million dollar Albanian drug cartel for which he briefly and, if you can believe it, unknowingly worked as a transporter.
Desperate to find employment after the implosion of his career on the ice, Sapergia was hired by a transportation firm to pick up packages from armored cars and to deliver them to various points across the US.
He was given a desk and a badge and was convinced that he had stumbled upon a stable and relatively lucrative job that didn’t require dropping the gloves or dealing with incompetent referees.
But Sapergia soon became suspicious about the nature of his work when the recipients of his packages began looking increasingly shifty.
As Albanian drug lords do.
You'd think Sapergia might have figured this out sooner, especially when one group of Albanian criminals was literally being beaten up by Liam Neeson when he arrived, but unfortunately for the former hockey coach, he didn't come to a full realization about what he was actually doing -- delivering and distributing the Albanian drug cartel's millions -- until Federal prosecutors informed him, and placed him under arrest for it.
This time around, Sapergia was cooperative and respectful to the officials. He told them everything they wanted to know. He didn't even throw anything at them.
It worked out for him. While the prosecutors felt he didn't leave the job quickly enough once he began to suspect something, they eventually concluded that Sapergia honestly had no idea he was moving drug money. He received no jail time -- only probation.
The lesson here, if there is one, is that it's even more important for a coach to keep his cool than we realize. This is what could happen to you if you can't control your temper behind the bench.
Take it to heart, Patrick Roy -- this could have been you.
- - - - - - -