BOSTON (CBS) – Connecticut waste management mogul and Mafia associate James Galante purchased the Danbury Trashers of the now-defunct UHL in 2004, and bestowed the duties of general manager to his 17-year-old son and high school senior A.J..
The younger Galante knew his dad wanted to get involved in the business of sports, but never thought their dinner conversation one night would actually lead to his father’s vision. James, known as Jimmy, came through on his word to buy the team, and A.J. came through on his to serve as GM.
So what is the first order of business for a person not even old enough to buy cigarettes?
Simple: creating an image, which A.J. Galante admitted Wednesday morning on Toucher & Rich he modeled after a certain NFL franchise.
“My favorite football team was the Oakland Raiders, and [former owner] Al Davis was a model to me. Even though I was young, I knew we needed to make the team entertaining because Danbury is not your typical hockey town. I was a big fan of the movie Slap Shot, so I said let’s make a real life version of it. We went out and got a bunch of nutjobs and we went nuts out there. That first season we shattered the record for all time penalty minutes in one season, and we were definitely entertaining to say the least. Nobody wanted to play us. Our guys were so big and we would just bully other teams nonstop.”
A.J., now a boxing promoter, concedes he’s not the most knowledgeable when it comes to the strategy of hockey and how to build a team.
However, his video game style of having two goons and one scorer on each forward line seemed to work well in forming his team’s personality.
“It was just our presence alone. A lot of the times they would just let our guys run right through. Teams wanted no part of us. That’s part of sports, the intimidation factor, and it worked really well for us.”
It’s a fascinating story – listen below to hear the full interview: