OK, I tried to come up with a better headline (tie it into a quote from The Godfather) but I couldn't.
DANBURY, Conn. -- The Danbury Trashers, the minor league hockey team charged in a federal Mafia indictment, will not compete next season, the United Hockey League said Monday.
Team owner James Galante was arrested Friday on charges of racketeering, extortion, witness tampering and circumventing the league's salary cap. Prosecutors say he overpaid players and their wives under the table with money from his mob-connected garbage companies.
The United Hockey League did not indicate whether the team intends to regroup for the 2007-08 season. The team's players are expected to be dispersed in a draft later this week.
The league's brief press release said that the Trashers made a financial decision to disband after the New York-based Adirondack Frostbite, their closest geographical rival, suspended play for the coming season because of a lease issue.
The release does not mention that the Trashers are under federal indictment, that Galante is in prison awaiting trial, that his family's bank accounts have been frozen or that federal marshals are working out of the building where the Trashers and Galante's garbage companies were based.
Federal authorities said some hockey players and their wives had no-show jobs with Galante's garbage companies, allowing him to pump $750,000 into salaries when the team's cap was about $250,000.
The Trashers lost in the league finals to the Kalamazoo Wings last month.
Galante's trash conglomerate is among the most dominant in the region. Prosecutors say he paid $30,000 every three months to reputed Genovese crime family boss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello for mob muscle to maintain his company's dominance.
"It's something that we knew could happen," Trashers forward Drew Omicioli told The News-Times of Danbury. "Hopefully, it's one of those things where it could be settled for the following year."
The team's Web site had a brief message encouraging fans and advertisers to check back for information on refunds of their season ticket deposits.