Jacques Demers, who coached the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1993 and was later a general manager in the NHL, admits in a newly released biography that he is illiterate.
"I could read a little bit, but I can't write very well," Demers said at a party for the book's launch. "I took to protecting myself. You put a wall around yourself. And when I was given the possibility of talking, I could speak well, and I think that really saved me."
In the book "Jacques Demers: En Toutes Lettres," which roughly translates to "All Spelled Out," Demers said his inability to read and write was the result of an abusive and impoverished childhood.
"All I wanted from my father was to treat me with love," Demers said. "Not to beat me up when I did something wrong. Not to beat up my mom. It really hurt me because he took away my childhood.
"The other thing I wanted to say was that if I could not write or read, it was because I had so much of a problem with anxiety because of the things going on in the family. I couldn't go to sleep at night. I'd go to school and I couldn't learn anything."
The book, which was released Wednesday, was written by Canadian journalist Mario Leclerc.
Demers coached the Quebec Nordiques, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal and the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he was also general manager in the late 1990s.
When he was a general manager, he brought in Cliff Fletcher and Jay Feaster as assistants to handle contracts he couldn't read.
Since leaving the NHL coaching ranks, Demers's work has included being a guest contributor for USA Today.
-- From News Services