Friday, August 8, 2008

The Billy Tibbetts Urban Legend

OK, it's summer and to keep entertained, here's a quick little story we heard many years ago second-hand off a friend of a friend of a friend. In other words, it's an urban legend; probably not true to life at all.....But it is entertaining and, given the cast of characters, it doesn't seem out of place.

Billy Tibbetts is a name a lot of fans might not know. He is probably most famous for being out of hockey for four years while he was in jail from 1996-2000. The Penguins signed him and gave him a shot and it just didn't work out. Tibbetts played total of 62 games over two seasons with Pittsburgh (scoring 2 goals, 7 assists and registering 188 penalty minutes). He bounced around from Philadelphia to New York to Boston and a lot of minor league teams in between before running out of chances in the NHL. He now plays in Finland.

Tibbetts, for lack of better phrasing, just couldn't stay out of his own way. For instance, this quote from his Wikipedia page sort of sums up some of the troubles and various attitude problems and trouble with authority that Tibbetts just can't seem out of:



He was arrested early in the morning of August 13, 2007, after leading a Massachusetts State Police trooper on a high-speed chase from Scituate, MA to Abington, MA, where he crashed his 2007 BMW into a fence and a telephone pole, and fled on foot.

So with that background in mind, consider this folk-lore urban legend...


The story dates from one of Tibbetts' stints with the Penguins, sometime in 2001 or 2002. Billy was often getting called up or re-assigned to the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The stress, excessive travel and uncertain day-to-day future of being a bubble player was starting to wear on the temperamental man so he was beginning to snap at those around him.

After games, visiting teams usually take showers, receive quick treatment if necessary and then get on a chartered team bus to be taken back to the hotel or airport. Players trickle onto the bus after the games and play cards, joke around with each other, talk on cell phones, sleep; normal type of stuff you'd expect. There is also a pecking order of who gets to sit where, with veterans calling seniority to get good seats at the front of the bus.

As the legend has it, Tibbetts was one of the first players on the bus and was able to snag a prized seat up front, opposite side of the driver. As players filed on, one of the veterans--among them rumored to be Kevin Stevens (who's a little gruff himself)--asked Tibbetts to move to the back, being as he was young player without many games played in the league. Tibbetts rebuffed strongly, not wanting to surrender his seat. There was a heated confrontation, nothing physical but an intense, vulgar exchange that would make George Carlin himself proud.

In the end, at the urging of other moderate team "graybeards" and to maintain peace, Tibbetts was ousted to the back of the bus and the vet got his choice seat. Stewing over this defeat and not wanting to look like a punk in front of his other colleagues, the hotheaded Tibbetts, as the story goes, allegedly thought up a quick plan for revenge.

Supposedly in Tibbetts hands was a cheeseburger that he was eating for a post-game meal. Fed up with getting jerked around and with his situation in general Tibbetts knew what he had to do. He flung the cheeseburger towards the front of the bus, towards the vet who embarrassed him publicly.

Unfortunately Billy Tibbetts wasn't a baseball player, his aim was off and in the fit of rage the cheeseburger supposedly sailed a clear foot over the sitting target's head. The burger was on a path to harmlessly hit the front windshield. Except, as the story goes, as fat would have it guess who just happened to be stepping on the bus at the same moment that Tibbetts hurled his projectile?


As the story goes, Tibbetts was re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre the following day and soon after the Pens decided to cut ties with him.

15 comments:

Scott said...

Vets always sit in the back of the bus.
Rookies sit up front.

MotleySu said...

Wow. I'd never heard this story.
What a character!

Anonymous said...

This guy now plays for my local team in the SPHL. He scored a hat trick and had an assist on his first night and had a couple of goals and assists on his second night. We are glad to have him.

Anonymous said...

The team is the Huntsville Havoc if anybody cares.

Hooks Orpik said...

Thanks for the comment...No one's ever questioned Tibbetts' on-ice abilities, it's just that he's always been unstable and become unhinged. Hopefully he keeps the show up for your team for a while.

Anonymous said...

How funny! If I ever see him out in Huntsville, which I'm sure I will... I have got to ask him about this! Definitely not a "Cheeseburger In Paradise," huh....

Anonymous said...

Billy Tibbetts is a thug who cannot control himself. He's working hard at getting thrown out of the SPHL. If Huntsville can only win with a thug, then they must suck as a team. Pathetic!

Philluso said...

To me, Billy Tibbetts qualifies as the worst Flyer of all time (I began watching in 1992-93). He was a disgrace to the Flyers in every way imaginable.

Here is Tibbetts' Flyers career in a nutshell:

He throws a guy on top of his own goalie while play is still live and they score. Then he jumps a soft player (Marek Malik) from behind and barely wins the fight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOB3iJiEGkQ&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous said...

"It's the same old story with Billy Tibbetts. He's got million dollar talent with a 10-cent mind." Todd Alexander

Anonymous said...

Billy tibbets is gone from the huntsville havoc but I sure hope he returns.

Anonymous said...

he's a rapist

Anonymous said...

he raped a 15 year old girl with a branch he should be shot.

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
artfitness said...

I know Tibbs really well. He is one of my good friends. That story is bullshit. First of all it was on their plane and he smashed it over another teamates face for busting his balls for like 2 days straight. What happened is when he did that a drop of ketchup landed on Mario's pants..

Balablog said...

Biggest douche I've ever met. I ran into him in 2004. He was playing for San Diego Gulls in the ECHL, on a "zero tolerance" restriction due to his history. Preseason, Gulls were in Long Beach for an exhibition game, Tibbetts didn't make the trip. He showed up at an afternoon pickup session I was skating in. I was 50 years old, just had back surgery 2 weeks earlier. A kid tried to stop Tibbetts and his stick road up and nearly clipped his face...Tibbetts spent the next part of the skate chasing this poor kid around slashing and hacking him. I told him to get off the ice and he was then after me for the rest of the session, then in the locker room he tried taunting me. I am friends with the Gulls Coach, so I simply took my cell phone and called him while this idiot was picking on me. He was cut by the team and shipped out the following week for violating his zero tolerance restriction....seeya pal.