Jeremy Allingham chronicles the struggles of Langley’s Stephen Peat and two other hockey enforcers in his book ‘Major Misconduct.” (Rebbecca Blissett photo)

VIDEO: How a B.C. kid came to chronicle the downfall of a hometown hockey hero

Growing up, journalist Jeremy Allingham used to watch Stephen Peat play at a local arena

Growing up in Langley, 13-year-old Jeremy Allingham got to watch a slightly older Stephen Peat play hockey at a local arena.

At 6’3” and 240 pounds, Peat, a then-15-year-old right winger with the BCHL Langley Thunder was impressive, scoring 20 points in 59 games.

That got Peat noticed, first by the WHL and then by NHL, where the physically imposing Peat developed a reputation as a hockey enforcer who was willing to drop his gloves and start swinging.

Many years later, Allingham has charted the downfall of Peat, a player who made millions then ended up homeless.

In his book, Major Misconduct, Allingham suggests the fighting caused brain damage, describing a 2002 fight between Peat and P.J. Stock as “one of the most violent hockey fights of all time,” where the combatants threw more than a punch a second, landing blow after blow to the face.

It was, Allingham noted, more punishment that a pro boxer absorbs.

Note: Video contents may be upsetting to some.

Now, Peat suffers from “relentless headaches, memory loss, emotional outbursts, and substance use issues,” Allingham relates in his book.

Allingham notes that the symptoms are consistent with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Peat ended up living in his truck and couch-surfing after he was charged with arson in a fire that destroyed his Langley home in 2015, then pleaded guilty.

READ MORE: Peat pleads guilty in arson attack

READ MORE: Former NHL tough guy, Stephen Peat, ‘has a heart of gold,’ says his friend

Allingham spent more than a year working on the book about Peat and two other famous hockey fighters, James McEwan and Dale Purinton.

A lot of his time was spent in pursuit of Peat, who would respond to the occasional text message, but took a very long time before he agreed to a full interview.

Finally, out of the blue on day, Peat agreed to talk by phone.

In the hour-long conversation that ensued, Allingham said Peat described what his life was like, how he was homeless and estranged from his father and how he spent the holidays alone.

“It was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had,” Peat told Allingham.

Allingham recounts his own amazement that a man who made nearly $2 million from hockey “was now living alone, sleeping in the cab of a beat-up GMC pickup or crashing on the couches of any friend who would have him. He was spending most of his days in local parks, trying to find some relief from the relentless headaches and the fog of confusion that surrounded, then swallowed, his life.”

“I just want my health back, man,” Peat told Allingham.

In person, during a long-postponed face-to-face meeting, Peat registered as “an intelligent, charming, funny guy” Allingham told the Langley Advance Times.

Allingham has become an outspoken critic of fighting in hockey.

While the number of fights has fallen over the years, it is still too high, he argues, with “about a one in five chance that you’ll witness a fight” in the NHL.

In the 2018–19 season, that worked out 226 bare-knuckle fights, Allingham recounted, “where young men received concussive and sub-concussive trauma to their brains.”

Allingham believes there is still hope for Peat “to get the help he needs and, possibly, to become healthy again.”

Telling Peat’s story and the stories of the other firmer fighters was an intense and demanding experience for Allingham, who found working on the book left him with barely enough time and energy for his job at CBC and his new life as a parent of two.

“I’m a musician. I completely put that on the side,”

“I didn’t play with my band. My social life shot down 90 per cent.”

Now, he’s writing songs again.

“I’m coming back to it [music] with a fresh outlook.”

Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey, by Jeremy Allingham, with a foreword by Daniel Carcillo, is published by Arsenal Pulp Press.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Review: City and Colour brings patented sound to Kelowna

City and Colour are touring their latest album ‘A Pill for Loneliness’ across Canada throughout November

West Kelowna Warriors find new owner

The BC Hockey League approved the sale of the Warriors to John Murphy and Rod Hume

Veterans honoured at Lake Country Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembrance day event in Lake Country was one of five ceremonies that took place across Central Okanagan

Hundreds attend downtown Kelowna Remembrance Day Ceremony

People gathered to pay respect to 240 Kelowna residents and two million Canadians who have served /or are serving

Five Remembrance Day ceremonies getting underway across Central Okanagan

Hundreds anticipated to attend ceremonies in West Kelowna, Kelowna, Peachland, Rutland and Lake Country

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Morning Start: Was Sean Connery’s James Bond hair too good to be true?

Your morning start for Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Environment Canada forecasts 10-15 cm of snow for Shuswap

Snow is expected to be replaced with rain in the afternoon

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector drivers cautioned due to freezing rain

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Most Read