Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Demers revelation surprises Feaster
By TOM JONES
Published November 4, 2005
OTTAWA - Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said Thursday he was shocked to learn that former Lightning GM and coach Jacques Demers is illiterate.
In a biography released Wednesday, Jacques Demers En Toutes Lettres, which roughly translates as "Jacques Demers From A to Z," Demers, 61, revealed he barely can read or write - the result of a horrible childhood that included physical and psychological abuse from his father.
Demers hired Feaster as his assistant general manager in 1998 and the two worked together about a year before Demers was fired after Bill Davidson bought the team.
"Now, as you look back, there are certain things that happened that at the time they happened never struck me as being odd, but now put in context (it makes sense)," Feaster said. "Then, it didn't seem unusual or out of place."
Feaster said Demers often would bring contracts for Feaster to review, but Feaster thought it was because he had a legal background. Feaster now knows it was, in part, because Demers could not read. But Feaster believes - and he's likely correct - that Demers would have hired him anyway. It's unlikely even if Demers was literate that he would have been able to hold the dual positions of general manager and coach without assistance.
"He did not want to sit there at that desk and worry about the CBA or worry about the contracts," Feaster said, "so I don't think it would have changed anything in that regard."
Demers spent 15 years as an NHL coach with stints in Detroit, St. Louis and Montreal as well as Tampa Bay. He won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993. But few knew of his secret before the release of the authorized biography written by former Canadiens beat writer Mario Leclerc.
He didn't tell his wife, Debbie, until they were married and only told the oldest of his four children, 35-year-old daughter Mylene, on Tuesday.
"If he had been able to talk about it earlier, I'm sure people would have been coming out of the woodwork to help him," Feaster said. "Yet, at the same time, he obviously didn't know what the reaction would be within the hockey world."
Through the years, Demers finessed his way around his illiteracy by getting assistants to handle his correspondence or using excuses such as forgetting his glasses.
"I don't enjoy fooling people because I was only fooling myself," Demers told reporters Wednesday. "And the only reason I did it was to protect myself and to survive."
Demers hopes the book accomplishes two things: to help stop child abuse and to inspire those who are illiterate to get help.
"It's unfortunate that he did have to live with it," Feaster said, "but it's courageous and I'm sure it's going to help a lot of people."
ODDS AND ENDS: Goalie Sean Burke skated for the first time Thursday since straining his groin stepping on a puck Saturday. He did not dress, but the Lightning is pleased with his progress and he could be in uniform Saturday in Toronto. ... The Lightning is scheduled to sign autographs today at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as part of the Hall of Fame Induction weekend. Former Boston power forward Cam Neely is among inductees being enshrined Monday.