Ex-Lightning GM, coach reveals he can't read, write

Published November 3, 2005

OTTAWA - Former Lightning coach and general manager Jacques Demers revealed in a biography released Wednesday that he is illiterate.

In Jacques Demers En Toutes Lettres, which roughly translates as "Jacques Demers From A To Z," Demers said his illiteracy resulted from a terrible childhood due in part to his father, who physically and psychologically abused him and his mother.

"All I wanted from my father was to treat me with love," Demers, 61, said at a book launching in Montreal. "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.

"I had so much of a problem with anxiety. ... I'd go to school, and I couldn't learn anything."

Demers said few knew he could not read or write. His wife, Debbie, did not learn of it until after the two were married. In the book, Demers said he worked around his problem by having secretaries and media relations people handle correspondence.

Demers, who was with the Lightning from 1997-99, said he hired Cliff Fletcher and current Lightning GM Jay Feaster because he could not read contracts.

"I never really was a GM," he said. "I could read a little bit, but I can't write very well."

The book is out in French only but might be released in English early next year.