Thatcher Demko’s journey to NHL stardom included being held up at gunpoint in upstate New York.
The Vancouver Canucks’ All-Star goalie revealed an incredible story about a terrifying incident that took place during his rookie season with the AHL’s Utica Comets.
“Dude, I got robbed at gunpoint, in my own crib,” Demko said during a 50-minute interview on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. “I was just dozing off and the backdoor in house didn’t lock, so I heard the backdoor open.”
The incident happened five years ago, Demko revealed, when he was roommates with Jordan Subban. Demko said he heard a noise and got out of bed.
“You always hear shit in your house, and you go out and check, and there’s nothing there. So I just got out of bed. I was in my boxers, and I‘m walking down the hall and this dude turns the corner and he’s got all this shit in his arms. I was like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?‘ He’s like, ‘I’m taking your shit.‘ I was like, ‘God damn!‘”
Demko’s known for his calmness on the ice and in post-game interviews, but said the incident had him rattled. He was struck by the thief’s confidence.
“It wasn’t his first time doing it.”
The man didn’t take much, Demko said, but he was planning on cleaning out the whole house. Apparently, the thief was tipped off by the son of Demko’s landlord, who ran into a “drug predicament.” He told the robber about the door that didn’t lock, and said that Demko and Subban would be out of town on a road trip — except he got the day wrong.
It seems that the Comets were set to leave for Hershey after their Friday night home game. The thief showed up on Thursday.
Demko, who was 21 years old at the time, followed the man outside, later realizing that it wasn’t the smartest decision.
“I followed him out into the snow and I was still in my boxers, and I put my hand on him and was like ‘Hey man, if you just give us the stuff back, I won’t call anyone, no harm, no foul. Whatever.
“He kind of switched his stuff into one arm and pulled a gun on me. I was like, ‘Hey man, go ahead. It’s all good. All you.”
Demko said he chased after the robber and got a look at his licence plate, and the cops found him within about 10 minutes.
“It was a wild experience. I got lucky. It was kind of stupid chasing after him, in hindsight,” Demko said. “I froze, man, I didn’t know what the fuck to do.”
The Canucks goalie then had to testify in court, which was also a difficult experience.
“It was actually worse than the robbery,” Demko said. “They made me stand up and point at him, like physically point at him, and say, ‘This is the guy that held me up.'”
Demko said he called Travis Green, who was the Comets’ head coach at the time. He didn’t get much sympathy.
“I called Greener at like four in the morning, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I just got fuckin’ robbed! I’m in the police station, this is crazy. I just wanted to let you know. He’s like ‘Alright, I’ll see you for morning skate.'”
Green ended up giving Demko the next night off, but played him the following day in Hershey. Demko led Utica to a 3-2 win, stopping 36 of 38 shots, and was named the game’s first star.