Controversial Hockey Player Contract Terminated Shortly After Signing.

Elliot Ben Jacob
June 12, 2023  (6:12 PM)

Unexpected Termination of Ben Johnson's Contract

Just a short while after the declaration, a European team has reversed its decision regarding the recruitment of a contentious former NHL draft pick, Ben Johnson. The team has declared the termination of his contract.

The Journey of Ben Johnson

In 2012, the New Jersey Devils chose Johnson in the 3rd round (90th overall) of the NHL draft, although he never appeared in any NHL game. The subsequent year brought severe challenges when Johnson, then 18 and playing junior hockey in Windsor, Ontario, faced a sexual assault charge against a 16-year-old woman.
Eventually, a guilty verdict led to the termination of his entry-level deal just a year later. Despite his appeals against the conviction, Johnson was unsuccessful.

Recent Developments

The recent history of Johnson's professional career saw a significant event last week when the Krefeld Pinguine, a team in Germany's second-tier professional league (DEL2), publicized their decision to sign Johnson on a one-year contract. However, the team has recently taken a U-turn on its decision.
Krefeld's Managing Director, Peer Schopp, explained their sudden change of stance:
"Due to the developments of the last few days, we have come to the conclusion that it is our duty to avert further damage to the Krefeld penguins and Ben Johnson. That's why we called Ben on Saturday evening and came to the mutual agreement that both sides will benefit if we terminate the contract."

Johnson's Life Post-Prison

What makes this story more intriguing is the fact that this isn't the first contract Johnson has had since his release from prison. Immediately following his two-year imprisonment, Johnson signed a contract with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, where he played from 2018 to 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced a year-long break, after which Johnson joined the ECHL's Kansas City Mavericks and did the previous season playing professional hockey in Slovakia.