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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

United Way’s giving campaign launches with less fanfare during pandemic

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island’s fall campaign is now underway

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 30

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Tilray medicinal-cannabis product shows promise in cancer therapy research study

Clinical trial finds cannabis from Nanaimo company reduced chemotherapy-caused nausea, vomiting

RCMP hope public can help locate missing Nanaimo man

Gary Alexander Davidson, 54, has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 20

Nanaimo school district may combine demolition of Franklyn Street gym, career resource centre

Demolition of old career centre and library on Selby Street already out for tender

Protesters blockading log-sort operation at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo demands an end to all old-growth logging in B.C.

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read