‘Untold: Crime and Penalties’ Star AJ Galante on Why the Trashers Would Never Work Today

Probably the crimes and the penalties

Minor-league hockey team the Danbury Trashers were of a definite time and place (the place obviously being Danbury, Connecticut), and there’s just no bringing that back, former general manager (and the owner’s son) A.J. Galante told TheWrap. Fortunately, we can relive those glory (and gory, in the Trashers’ case) days thanks to the excellent “Untold: Crime and Penalties” documentary, now streaming on Netflix.

“Once a month” since the team was disbanded in 2006 for wildly violating the UHL’s (United Hockey League, which is among the feeder leagues for the NHL) salary cap, A.J. Galante says he’s been asked when the Trashers, known for their violence, bad-boy image, pro-wrestling-style promotion and mob ties (yes, mob ties) are coming back.

Galante told us the same thing he tells those nostalgic fans: Not possible.

“Hockey’s a different game. It’s a lot more skill-based, it’s not as rough,” Galante, the son of Genovese crime family associate Jimmy Galante, explained. “Society’s different. We would have gotten arrested now doing some of the things we did.”

Yeah, probably. A.J.’s dad Jimmy, who also participated in the doc, has certainly been arrested — but not for hockey-related reasons. In 1999, he was locked up for about a year on tax-evasion charges. In 2008, he began what would be a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty to racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defrauding the IRS.

Again with the taxes. Those arrests and convictions were tied to Jimmy’s highly successful waste-management business. Like the Trashers (get it now?), Automated Waste Disposal (AWD) was not exactly operated to the letter of the law. Also like the hockey team, much of its success came from the enforcement. (Unfortunately, the punishment came from that too, in both cases.)

Anyway, back to disappointing the local community — at least the hockey-crazed part. (The Galante Family has actually been extremely generous in donating to Danbury schools and medical facilities, which is part of the documentary’s paradox.)

“I tell people, ‘Look, get over it. It’s over. It’s never coming back, unfortunately,’” A.J. continued of the Trashers’ heyday, which ended 15 years ago.

These days, A.J. Galante is out of the fight-heavy game and in the fight game. He’s been in boxing for more than 10 years now and has operated his Danbury gym for more than six.

“The boxing on the ice was my favorite part anyway,” Galante said.

The “Crime and Penalties” episode of “Untold” premiered Tuesday on Netflix. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, “Untold: Crime and Penalties” asks “What happens when a trash magnate with mafia ties buys a minor league hockey team and puts his 17-year-old son in charge?”

The answer can be found in the below logline, though we really recommend you watch this one.

A roaring, brawling, bruising, bananas, yet short-lived success, that ultimately gets rocked by the FBI. In 2004, Jimmy Galante created the Trashers, a UHL ice hockey team in Danbury, Connecticut, and installed his “Mighty Ducks”-obsessed teen son A.J. as general manager. (If something sounds familiar about Tony and A.J.: Allegedly, “The Sopranos” was based on Galante and his family.) A.J. wanted to create a blend of pro wrestling and “The Mighty Ducks”  — “a combo of my favorite things, heroes and villains.” The result was a team of misfits combining rough play and record-breaking penalty minutes that drew a loud and loyal fanbase, including some celebrities and coverage on ESPN. Then the FBI showed up to put a lid on the Trashers and Jimmy Galante.


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