A former hockey player with the unofficial title of the most violent athlete in the world will be coming to Kingston this week to talk about his life on and off the ice.
Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe is travelling through Ottawa, eastern Ontario and Montreal promoting the book, The Real Ogie! The Life and Legend of Goldie Goldthorpe.
The book was written by author, radio host and hockey trivia expert Liam Maguire. It is his fourth book, with the previous three on hockey trivia.
The two men met just over two years ago when Maguire interviewed Goldthorpe on his Ottawa radio show a few days before Goldthorpe, a former teammate of retired Kingston Frontenacs coach and general manager Larry Mavety, was to appear at a Frontenacs Ontario Hockey League game.
According to the book, Goldthorpe, now 65, has the distinction of owning several dubious unofficial records, such as being involved in 125 hockey fights and 500 fights off the ice, being suspended from six professional and three senior hockey leagues, being arrested 50 times and jailed 40 times, as well as being shot and stabbed after getting into fights over the years.
He was also barred for life from the North American Hockey League and to this day still cannot travel to the United States.
Goldthorpe and Maguire will be at Jimmy’s Sports Lounge at 2784 Princess St. on Friday from 5-9 p.m., and on Saturday at the Mansion at 506 Princess St. from 2-5 p.m.
Goldthorpe will be signing his book and he and Maguire will conduct a hot stove question-and-answer session.
“We’ll talk a little bit about the book and Goldie’s absolutely insane, psychotic life,” Maguire said in an interview. “And have some fun with it.”
In the 1977 movie Slap Shot, Goldthorpe’s reputation as a tough guy enforcer was played by a character named Ogie Oglethorpe, who looked like Goldthorpe with his large blond afro and piercing eyes.
Slap Shot, with Hollywood star Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlop, the playing coach of the Charlestown Chiefs of the Federal League, was about minor professional hockey in the 1970s and the antics of the players. The movie also featured the brawling Hanson Brothers.
One scene toward the end of the movie introduces Oglethorpe, one of the toughest players in hockey, who was brought in to brawl with Newman and his teammates in the championship game. Goldthorpe was to play “himself” in the role but he got kicked off the production set.
“He was in a couple of incidents on and off the ice and one in front of Paul Newman’s brother,” Maguire said. “As a result, Art Newman [Paul’s brother], who was head of casting in the movie, said in no uncertain terms can this guy come anywhere near Paul or on the set. He’s far too violent and far too unpredictable.”
Maguire didn’t say what the incidents were, but they are mentioned in the book.
“They would not let him play the role that was created for him, even though they used his name and likeness,” Maguire said.
In the movie, the player is described as being under litigation due to his violence on and off the ice, his notoriety and his deportation to Canada and the country’s subsequent refusal to accept him.
“That stuff is all true,” Maguire said. “They used everything on him but wouldn’t let him appear in the movie.
“It was one of the most crushing disappointments of his life. He never got a penny from the movie, even though they used his name, his likeness and his reputation,” Maguire said. “He didn’t watch the movie for 12 years.”
According to the internet hockey database hockeydb.com, Goldthorpe played 39 games for four teams in the World Hockey Association, but the majority of his career was played in the lower professional leagues.
“He was one of 30 enforcers making a living floating around the minors at that time,” Maguire said. “He ascended to a pretty high level, but he was just there to fight. They didn’t need him to work the power play.”
In a career that spanned from 1973-74 to 1983-84, Goldthorpe, who stood 5-11 and weighed 185 pounds, played on 10 different minor league teams.
Over that time, he amassed 978 penalty minutes in 157 documented games. (He likely surpassed 1,000 minute but stats aren’t available for the 1979-80 season he spent with the Spokane Flyers of the Western International Hockey League.) He also scored 48 goals and 110 points in minor professional hockey. His best season was his rookie year with the Syracuse Blazers of the North American Hockey League, scoring 20 goals and 46 points in 55 games along with 287 penalty minutes.
In the World Hockey Association, and playing against the likes of legends Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich and Bobby Hull, he was considerably tamer, collecting only 87 penalty minutes over 33 games.
He also went to the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp in the fall of 1976 and was property of the Pittsburgh Penguins at one time but was never offered a National Hockey League contract.
Off the ice, he was shot and stabbed on different occasions.
“He missed a whole year of hockey after getting shot by drug dealers,” Maguire said.
He missed another year after he was stabbed repeatedly with a buck knife by a man in San Diego when Goldthorpe was trying to save a woman who was being beaten.
“It’s crazy, the backstory the man has,” Maguire said. “I don’t know of anyone else who missed a training camp because they were shot.”
Goldthorpe also had interactions with the Mafia and notorious bikers.
Maguire said Goldthorpe has settled down a bit since then, with his last altercation about five years ago.
“He fights for the right reasons. He fights to back family, friends, teammates or people who can’t fight for themselves.”
When he was younger, Maguire said, Goldthorpe couldn’t solve problems with his words so he used violence.
“He’d become a tsunami of fists and [would] eliminate threats,” he said. “The fights were so egregious, so aggressive, with so much damage, that’s why he got arrested so many times.”
Maguire said the book is selling well, because of Goldthorpe’s off-ice behaviour. He has already had preliminary discussions about making a movie about Goldthorpe’s life story.
Goldthorpe was banned from the U.S. after he got into a fight while boarding a plane in Green Bay, Wis., and the brawl spilled out onto the tarmac. He fought because other players were making fun of the coach’s brother, Maguire said.
“He fought his teammates on a plane while people were putting their luggage in the overhead compartments. They had to divert air traffic.”
After Goldthorpe retired from hockey, he became a bodybuilder but never took steroids or any other recreational drugs, Maguire said. He still works out four days a week.
“He’s ripped at 65 years old,” Maguire said.
“He’s very strong-willed mentally and still aggressive. But he’s humble, he likes to have a good time and likes meeting people.”