We have an update on the story of Larry DePalma, the former journeyman NHL player who was arrested and charged with trying to extort $1 million from a parent of a junior hockey player he coached: He and his brother were each sentenced on Wednesday to one year in jail after pleading no contest to attempted extortion. Which goes to show that while success in sports may not always translate to other fields, being a lousy athlete might lead to you becoming a lousy criminal as well.
To recap the DePalma Brothers’ foolproof plan: Several years ago, they had tried to convince W. Bruce Knight to let them take his son, whom they coached in junior hockey, to Russia for additional training. When the trip failed to materialize the DePalmas, desperate for money, called Knight and said that “the Russian mafia” was very upset with Knight for canceling the trip, and that unless he paid $1 million (deliverable to the DePalmas, of course), Knight and his family would be killed.
The plan was so bumbling and transparent that it would be beneath H.I. McDonnough, and the Knights eventually called the FBI. Apparently, the first clue that the story might be a hoax came when DePalma told Knight that the Russian mobster’s name was “Tony Soprano.”
The judge in the case, Rudy Nichols, was so disgusted by the DePalma’s actions that he considered ignoring the brother’s pre-trial plea agreement and issuing a harsher sentence. He told the pair that “this was heinous … evil … not even a dog should have been treated like this.” Which makes you wonder exactly how Judge Nichols thinks that a dog does deserve to be treated. I’m guessing that Michael Vick really wishes he could have taken his case before this Judge.
Knight had no comment on the case, but Team Russia point guard Becky Hammon said she would be willing to be targeted by the Russian mafia for the right price.