Carolina's Chiasson Killed in Auto Accident
Monday, May 3, 1999; 1:11 p.m. EDT RALEIGH, N.C. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Steve Chiasson was killed early today when his pickup truck overturned hours after his team was eliminated from the playoffs in Boston.
Chiasson, a 32-year-old native of Barrie, Ontario, died about 4:15 a.m. EDT in the accident in north Raleigh, Trooper K.L. Horn of the State Highway Patrol said.
"This is a tragedy that is impossible to put into words,'' said Jim Rutherford, the Hurricanes' president and general manager.
"When a young life ends prematurely, when a young family loses a husband and a father, words cannot begin to express our sorrow,'' NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
Horn said Chiasson was thrown from the pickup after it ran off the road and flipped. Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Winstead said evidence at the scene and interviews suggested Chiasson might have been drinking.
Hurricanes spokesman Chris Brown said the team's charter arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport about 1 a.m. The players got in their vehicles at the airport and left.
Brown said beer was among the beverages served on the plane, but he didn't know if Chiasson had any alcohol.
The Hurricanes lost 2-0 to Boston in Game 6. On Friday night, Chiasson scored the first goal in a 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Bruins.
"When you work together and been in our environment, you have a family,'' coach Paul Maurice said at a news conference. "There's no other way to put it, and we lost a member of our family.''
Chiasson spent eight years with the Detroit Red Wings, was traded to the Calgary Flames in 1994 and in 1997 to what then was the Hartford Whalers.
He was drafted by Detroit in 1985 and played his first NHL game the following year. In 1988-89, he led all Red Wings' defensemen with 47 points. In 1989-90, he scored a career-high 14 goals and again led all Detroit defensemen in scoring with 42 points.
The Detroit team issued a statement saying, "Steve was a member of the Red Wings' family for several years and continued to be a close friend to individual players and staff, as well as the organization. We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve's family.''
Chiasson played in his first NHL All-Star game in 1993. At Calgary, he was rated second among Flames' defensemen in scoring in 1995-96 with 33 points and notched his 300th NHL career point on Nov. 29, 1995.
Chiasson is survived by his wife, Susan, two sons and a daughter.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press