If you want to compile a list of stupid financial collapses of pro athletes, get a LOT of paper as it’s a very lengthy list. Over 70% of athletes in the NFL and NBA are bankrupt within five years. The NHL is a little different, but not this time: This weeks’ bankruptcy filing by Vegas Golden Nights NHL goalie Robin Lehner won’t be the only one this year, and won’t crack the top 50 dumb stories – sorry.
Lehner apparently always had a thing for snakes. In 2017 he thought it’d be great idea to buy a bunch of rare snakes from world renowned breeder Ben Renick for $1.2 million as an investment. He made $4 million that year with the Buffalo Sabres, but still didn’t have the money for this new investment under his new company RL Investments LLC. Instead, he went to a company that specializes in loans to athletes by the name of Eclipse Services with quarterly payments of $200,000. The company makes lots of loans to athletes based on their contract. After all, when you get a big bonus and a huge contract, you gotta have money THAT DAY so you can buy your Mom a house and six cars for your buddies and third cousin. Then you gotta get a penthouse somewhere exotic to party with your entourage of old and new-found buddies. That’s all really expensive and you haven’t actually earned a dime of your future contract yet. But I digress.
That snake breeder was then murdered by his wife. Yes, the story has a lot of twists that I’ll skip as it’ll just make you shake your head too much… And, it turns out, breaking news: these snakes are pretty high maintenance and eat a lot. In the first four years, Lehner “only” made around $7.5 million – barely enough to live on – never mind the snakes.
In 2021 he signed with Vegas for $5 million a year and a $2 million signing bonus. But, by that time, the lawsuits, allegations of stealing some pythons, the lawyer bills, trying to just put food on the table, all that interest, etc. were mounting. And, let’s face it, $5 million a years isn’t much, is it?
It’s a mess and a pretty convoluted story. But there’s good news: Now a bankruptcy trustee can figure out this massive mess and handle Lehner’s finance for a year or two. More sort-of good news: Lehner is out the rest of the year with back problems. Sure, he still gets paid, but he’s probably out looking for some part-time work to pay back some of his debts…and right after bankruptcy discharge, he’ll have another two years at $11 million total on his NHL contract.