Monday, February 5, 2018

Former Vernon Laker Poeschek Fined $100 For Breaching Probation:

Former Vernon Lakers forward Rudy Poeschek pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court to breaching his probation. He had also been facing a charge of failure to appear in court, but that allegation was dropped by the Crown.

Poeschek was wanted on a warrant after missing a court date in June was facing a new charge.

Poeschek has been on the lam since no-showing in Kamloops provincial court on June 2 for what would have been his trial on an allegation he breached his probation. A warrant for his arrest was issued and he has since been charged with one count of failing to appear in court.

Poeschek played one season in Vernon with the 1982-83 Vernon Lakers collecting (4-goals-10-assists-14-points) before leaving for the Western Hockey League.

Poeschek was drafted 238th overall by the New York Rangers in Round 12 of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Poeschek played eleven seasons in the National Hockey League with four different teams (New York Rangers, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay & St. Louis).

Rudy Poeschek's Player Profile:

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Former NHL enforcer Poeschek fined $100 for breaching probation

By Tim Petruk - December 7, 2017

A former NHL enforcer who suffers from memory loss he blames on his time spent fighting on the ice was given a break by a Kamloops judge on Thursday.

Rudy Poeschek pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court to breaching his probation. He had also been facing a charge of failure to appear in court, but that allegation was dropped by the Crown.

Poeschek was on probation after pleading guilty to an assault charge stemming from an argument he had with a woman following a fender bender in a Brocklehurst parking lot.

Court heard he didn’t report to his probation officer in the summer of 2016, despite being given extra leeway because of his memory problems.

Prosecutor Katie Bouchard suggested a $250 fine.

“I don’t doubt that he does have some memory issues, but probation was bending over backwards to get him to report and he was always coming up with another excuse,” she said.

A Boston-based neurosurgeon who specializes in the impact head injuries have on athletes previously told KTW Poeschek is likely suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found to have afflicted many former hockey and football players. The disease cannot be confirmed until death.

Poeschek, who represented himself in court, told Judge Mariane Armstrong his career as a tough guy has taken a toll on him.

“I had over 400 hockey fights between junior, the pros and the minors,” he said. “It’s only been in the last four years that I’ve started to develop symptoms [of CTE]. I’ll phone to make an appointment and then, two hours later, I’ll ask my wife, ‘Did I call to make that appointment?’ Probation was just setting me up to fail.”

Poeschek is involved in a lawsuit being pursued by former players against the NHL, alleging the league knew the risks players were taking with repeated hits to the head but did not do enough to prevent injuries. He told court the symptoms cost him his job in the mining industry, which has left him in rough financial shape.

“I opted to take my NHL pension in a lump sum,” he said. “But I’m involved in a concussion lawsuit against the NHL. The money I have should last me about three years.”

Armstrong ordered Poeschek to pay a $100 fine.

“Mr. Poeschek, know that this is going to be a problem you’re going to have in the future,” she said. “It’s just going to get worse if you end up back here.”

CTE played a prominent role in a lawsuit filed by former National Football League players against that league. In that case, the two sides reached a settlement in 2015 believed to have been worth more than US$1 billion.

Researchers confirmed Ty Pozzobon, the Merritt bullrider who killed himself earlier this year, had CTE. It has also been found in the brains of dozens of former professional football players and multiple hockey players.

Poeschek was an enforcer in the NHL over parts of 12 seasons. He was selected by the New York Rangers in the 12th round of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft while playing junior hockey for his hometown Kamloops Blazers.

After a playing career that ended in 2001, Poeschek was arrested eight times while living in Tampa, Fla., culminating in a March 13, 2005, demolition derby in his upscale neighbourhood that landed him behind bars. He moved with his family to Kamloops after his release from a Florida jail.

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