Beyond the Surface of Ice: Untold Crimes and Penalties

By Noreen Flores, Zach Wright, and Josh Kennedy

student edit with courtesy photos from people

“There were a lot of things that went on, and I can still look at myself in the mirror everyday and I don’t have a problem” – James Galante

Boxing on the ice? Ever heard of it? Yeah, neither have we. Keep your eyes glued to the screen, and your shoulder pads on because it’s about to get messy. When it comes to hockey, you don’t expect a mob boss to be involved. You expect an older man in a suit to run the team. Well, what happens when you put a 17 year old to run a team with a mob boss father? It creates chaos and a bad boy image. Think of pro wrestling and ice hockey being intertwined into one. Maclain and Chapman Way had this vision of creating something raw that focused on certain incidents. This sports team isn’t your everyday hockey team. They manage to lay out what’s Beyond the Surface of Ice with the Danbury Trashers

The story takes us to the waste management king named James Galante. A man that built an empire in Danbury Connecticut. The trash hauler was on the radar in connection to a mob. He owned 25 waste companies all across the globe that had 50 trucks and 500 employees. “I had one turck, then I had to have two trucks” he wanted it all.  Yet, they had no competition due to the fact that they had no-bid-contracts and payments per year. They inflated carting prices for years. Was it intended to entertain or display the money laundering going on in a big sporting industry?  During the first six minutes of the documentary, we are given similarities and references to a movie The Sopranos – all about mob bosses and the parallels people get. Amidst the allegations and secrecy, the 17 year old managed to take. A team to victory. Sports fans might have kept coming back for more for the unique setting, mob fans might have wanted to know more about Galante’s story. Whatever the reason was, they were glued.

Although overlooked in most documentaries that we watch, who the creators choose to interview play an integral part in telling the story they want to tell. This story is so unique and intriguing because of the mob aspect of everything within the sport of hockey, however the creators don’t necessarily seem that they were interested in covering that part of the story too much. They were able to get many of the featured players from the past team, the commissioner of the hockey league, and were even able to find two die-hard fans to interview. By doing this, it is apparent that they really wanted to drive home the idea of entertainment and focus more on the sports side and not necessarily the crimes being committed. The FBI detective that was on the case is only briefly shown and it isn’t really until the end of the documentary that the majority of his interview is shown and the crime being committed by Jimmy is truly discussed.  

After finishing the documentary, it was very interesting to see that AJ’s mother and Jimmy’s wife was not chosen for any interview. She seems to play an important role in AJ’s life, given the fact that there were a few years when Jimmy was in prison while AJ was in school. Towards the beginning of the documentary, we see original home footage of the mother and AJ, but besides that there seems to be no mention of her any further.  It is almost obvious to think that the mother knows almost more than anyone, outside of Jimmy, of the ins and outs of the garbage business. So why wouldn’t she be featured in this documentary? The only answer I can give is, like I stated previously, the creators didn’t seem like they wanted their main focus to be the garbage business and the schemes going on. Rather, entertainment and sports was the main idea and they may have felt that the mom may not have provided much insight into those ideas. Even after doing brief research to see if I could find anything about the mom, there doesn’t really seem to be any information or news about her and her role in the documentary, and more importantly, the family as of now. 

Steering away from the content of the interviews and looking more at the physical settings of each of the interviews, we see that each person involved that is interviewed, is interviewed within a place that reflects either their personality, demeanor, or occupation. The interviews are shot in different areas with varying camera angles, lighting, and music choices. This is likely done in order to help portray to the audience what the show wants them to think about each person. Even clothing choices are considered to push each of these different images to the audience. 

The first interviews we see in this episode are with UHL Commissioner Richard Brosal, Tommy “T-Bone” Pomposello the equipment manager, and the mob boss himself, James Galante. The interview with the Commissioner is done in what seems to be a nice study that is lit by natural sunlight that cascades onto the bookshelves behind the commissioner which at first glance, leaves the audience seeing this man as someone who is well put together and serious. He’s dressed well and throughout the interview, he holds himself in a way that says “I mean business.” Then we get to see Tommy “T-Bone” Pomposello situated in a pretty nice office. Throughout his interviews, he is always seen holding a cigar and sitting with one leg on top of the other. This all comes together to push this sort of relaxed but tough guy look. But when it comes to mob boss James Galante, we’re given an image that we may not expect, but also isn’t all that surprising either. A simple desk in the middle of a warehouse is where James Galante is seated in all of his interviews. Behind him is a mound of random supplies and trash scattered about. Not what we would probably expect from a mob boss but rather, a man who runs waste companies. It’s kind of ironic as this is what some people would have seen him as, just a guy who runs some waste companies. After all of this mayhem, the team never became Trash talk, they became history. 

After the indictments and the break up of the Trashers, where are some of the players now?

  • AJ Galante- current boxing promoter and manager for Champs Boxing
  • James Galante- A free man currently “enjoying life” – The Atlantic
  • Mike Rupp- A current NHL analyst

For updates on AJ Galante visit his instagram boxing account : champsdanbury

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