Avs player on thin ice for speeding
Colorado Avalanche right winger Milan Hejduk was apparently trying to add to his point total in February – his driver’s license point total, that is.
The 26-year-old two-time NHL all-star was reportedly seen by a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy zooming down Highway 82 the night of Feb. 2. The deputy clocked Hejduk at 102 mph in a 65-mph zone near Carbondale as he headed from Aspen back home to Highlands Ranch.
The incident occurred during the weekend of the Miracle on the Mountain alumni hockey game in Aspen and on the same day the Olympic torch was paraded through the Roaring Fork Valley.
According to the deputy’s report, Hejduk was driving his silver Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle west on 82 near Lafarge Sand and Gravel at 9:50 p.m. when he was pulled over by then-Garfield County deputy Matt Gronbeck.
“I had no idea who he was until I asked him what his occupation was,” Gronbeck said. “He said, `I work for the Colorado Avalanche, I’m a hockey player.'”
Gronbeck, who recently was hired on as a Glenwood Springs police officer, said the traffic stop was routine.
“He was fine, there were no problems,” he said.
The highway was icy in spots and it was extremely cold outside, Gronbeck said. He also said Hejduk’s mother was in the back seat and a younger woman was in the front passenger seat.
Hejduk was scheduled to appear in Garfield County Court in front of Judge Vic Zerbi on Monday, but he apparently had a conflict – game seven of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the NHL playoffs against the L.A. Kings at Pepsi Center in Denver.
Hejduk’s attorney, Thomas Mulvahill out of Denver, called the court Monday to enter a plea, but court employees said Zerbi needed to hear the plea from Hejduk himself. As a result, Mulvahill requested a continuance, which Zerbi granted.
The ticket required a mandatory court appearance because Hejduk was so far over the speed limit, 37 mph to be exact.
According to court employees, Hejduk agreed to a plea bargain where he’ll plead guilty to speeding. But the charge of reckless driving – generally tacked onto any ticket where speeds exceed 100 mph – will be dropped.
If Zerbi had not granted a continuance in the case on Monday, Hejduk would have been wanted not only by the Kings’ defensemen, but also by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
In Monday’s deciding game at Pepsi Center in Denver, Hejduk scored his first point of the playoffs when he assisted Alex Tanguay in the team’s second of four goals.
Hejduk’s court date was continued until Thursday, the same day as game one of the Avalanche’s series with the San Jose Sharks. But for those who might head over to Zerbi’s courtroom for an autograph, don’t bother. Hejduk will appear via telephone.
In addition to being a two-time all-star, Hejduk was part of the 2001 Stanley Cup Champion Avalanche team. He was out with an injury for the latter part of this season, but came back during the Kings series.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.