Khabibulin Hits the Wall
On February 8, 2010, professional hockey found a goalie for an all-DUI team: Nicholas Khabibulin, mug shot shown.
Nicknamed the Bulin Wall, he was stopped by an officer of the Scottsdale Arizona police at 12:30 AM speeding a black Ferrari on Scottsdale Road in the 6700 block. Traveling at a speed of 70MPH in a 45MPH zone, Khabibulin smelled of alcohol which the police describe as: "... had an odor of alcohol emanating from him."
Khabibulin offered that he had been drinking and - hello! - he was asked to take a Breathalyzer.
Khabibulin was booked and released on excessive speed and DUI charges, pending lab results.
DUI All Over The Ice
He joins fellow-Russian, super-rich super-athlete on the DUI list: Alex Zhamnov (F).
Also at forward, Mark Bell (2007) and retired 50-goal scorer, Rick Vaive (2009).
On defence, retired New Jersey Devil Ken Daneyko, recently of Battle of the Blades fame, 2006, along with Chris Chelios, arrested in Westmount, Illinois at 4 AM on December 28, 2009, and charged with DUI.
They join, on the blue line, current Calgary Flame Jay Bouwmeester, convicted in 2007.
Lots of defencemen to choose from including bruiser retired defenceman Rob Ramage, convicted of impaired driving in 2003. But at least he had a clever lawyer who argued at trial that the smell of alcohol at the crash site came from empty cans of beer found in the wreck!
Behind the bench: Mike Keenan who was convicted of drunk driving in 1990 or Craig MacTavish who, while a member of the Boston Bruins, was involved in a fatal vehicle accident in which alcohol was a factor.
In case of trouble on the ice, Peter Worrell, enforcer (2002).
Professional hockey's defiance of drunk driving laws has reached epidemic proportions, of concern given not only the amount of money they earn but their responsibilities as role models for youth, especially young men.
More NHLer DUI convictions (with the years of their legal troubles in brackets):
Not all dumb DUI hockey players survived their defiance of the law. Steve Chiasson, defenceman of the Carolina Hurricanes died while trying to drive home from a season-ending party on May 3, 1999. Fellow defenceman Tim Horton died in 1974 while driving with an illegal alcohol content in his blood. Another defenceman, former Chicago Black Hawk Keith Magnuson died in December 2003 while a passenger of Rob Ramage, another retired NHL-er. Philadelphia Flyer all-star goaltender Pelle Lindbergh died in November 1985 when he crashed his Porsche while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Houston, We Have A Problem
When those society reward with a life of privilege show up in far too many DUI mugshots, well, "Houston, we have a problem". Criminal law lawyers if not judges know that when patterns establish themselves in courts of law, it is usually the tip of the iceberg, and that far, far many transgress or flaunt the law without ever getting caught.
Whatever substance abuse program professional hockey subsidizes from its $100 tickets and millionaire salaries is not working. Albeit no solace to the family of the innocent bystanders who die in the fatal crash caused by a drunk NHLer, a very long career-ending prison term to a young DUI-convict, otherwise up-and-rising NHL star, might send a law enforcement message players cannot ignore.
- Canadian Press, Former Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Rick Vaive Arrested for Impaired Driving, 17-SEP-2009
- CBC Sports, Panthers' Jay Bouwmeester pleads guilty to DUI, 4 SEP 2007
- City of Scottsdale, Arizone website
- Fleury, T., Playing With Fire (Toronto: HarperCollins, 2009), pages 274
- Pronger v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles CV 940705448 (Sep. 22, 1995) Connecticut Trial Court
- R. v. Ramage, 2007 CanLII 37683