The Curious Case of Joe Tacopina

As the story slowly comes to light about last weeks’ fall-out between the Washington Capitals and former team center Eric Belanger, one curious stone seems to have yet to be over turned. On Madison Avenue Sports and Entertainment’s website Joe Tacopina, Belanger’s agent, claims to have played professional hockey stating: “Joe played college hockey for the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds. He continued his hockey career after college at Springfield in the American Hockey League.”

Well, it does appear he played at college like he said. Furthermore, he appears to have set a record at Skidmore that is actually for playing less hockey. But that’s where his journey ends.

He doesn’t show up on hockeydb’s Springfield’s AHL roster from 1988. Or for any other year for that matter. And the one player who is on that roster who should stand out, though, is Bruce Boudreau.  I should think he could speak to the veracity of Taco’s claims he played pro.  Perhaps John Stevens could speak to it, too.

He’s not listed on the Springfield Indians all-time players list on wikipedia. He’s also not listed on the teams’ 1990-91 Team Card set (Though it does have former Caps Terry Yake and James Black). Also,  he’s not listed as part of the 1989-90 Calder Cup champion winning team.

It appears (through rather deft googling) that Joe Tacopina has a bit of a fib on his resume. That’s not to say that he wasn’t offered a try out, or serve as the teams’ waterboy or mascot- but as a lawyer, we should be able to take his words for fact, and not as some clever manipulation.