SUN Hockey Pool

Frankly, beware puck bunnies

KATHRYN HUMPHREYS -- Special to Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Name: Frank Torpey

Occupation: To scare the bejesus out of NHL players so they won't get it on with groupies.

I doubt that's what it said on his business card, but yes, that was his job. Talk about fighting a losing battle. That's like trying to sell Britney on the benefits of underwear.

Frank was an FBI agent who became the first chief of security for the NHL starting back in 1970. He died in 2001 at the age of 71, but is fondly remembered. When I asked Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice, and former Leaf Kris King if they remembered Frank, they immediately did their best impressions.

Apparently Frank was loud, straightforward, and spoke with a thick Boston accent. He came complete with a trench coat and grainy VHS tapes. Oh, he'd wheel the VCR into the middle of the locker room, fiddle with the volume and force players to watch his little fear-mongering vignettes.

Colorado Avalanche defenceman Ken Klee called the acting "terrible." He remembers a scene in which a woman enters a hotel lobby holding a baby and tells the player, "This is your son."

Klee remembers being most excited because he recognized the hotel lobby: "It was filmed at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta."

Okay, so perhaps some videos didn't have the desired effect. Klee also remembers a "scary" scene that involved a player drinking too much and waking up next to some vile woman who was blackmailing the poor dear with photos of him and a naked man. Now that's effective. Nothing like a little homo-eroticism to scare an NHLer straight.

Well played, Frank. Leafs tough guy Wade Belak's fave is the one in which a player brings a chick back to his hotel room "and the wife pays him a surprise visit so the chick is hiding in the closet. Like that ever happens."

No kidding. She'd hide under the bed because the guy taking the photos is hiding in the closet.

NERVOUS LAUGHING

Maurice recalls a lot of the players laughing, some nervously, during the video presentation. "Guys would be laughing because they knew it had happened to somebody in the room."

King says Frank would turn off the VCR, have a little staredown with the young guys and say, "If you're at a potty" (with the Boston accent, Kris said it sounded like he was saying "potty" instead of "party." Adorable or what).

"If you're at a potty, and there are drugs at that potty, you get the hell out of that potty."

Klee remembers the same speech, adding that Frank was a man of few words. "He'd say stuff your grandfather would say."

Funny, I missed the "drugs at a potty" talk with my grandfather.

Nowadays, there are even more warnings. Warnings about cellphone cameras, gambling and identity theft. The NBA and Major League Baseball do it, too. Next they'll be sending in divorce lawyers to explain "division of assets."

Frankly, it creates a climate of fear for the lonely athlete. How is a player supposed to unwind and enjoy a night out at Club Cheetah when he's worried about being beholden to the Gambino crime family for a comped lap dance?

SWEETHEART

And what about the pro athlete who marries his high school sweetheart only to discover she's ugly? Does he not have needs?

If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh? If you give them millions, an inflated ego and ample opportunity, do they not ... you know.


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