Former New York Rangers defenseman Dale Purinton, who spent his career playing the role of enforcer, was arrested Wednesday in upstate New York, charged with breaking into a home and assaulting the lone occupant, authorities said.
Purinton, 38, of Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, was charged with first-degree burglary after his arrest on an outstanding warrant by Oneida County sheriff's deputies at a home in Laurens, in Otsego County, where he was staying with relatives. He was sent to Oneida County jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office.
His next court date was not immediately available.
It also was unclear whether he was represented by counsel.
According to a statement released by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Purinton broke into a home in the Village of Sylvan Lake on Aug. 11, where he attacked the sole occupant.
Sheriffs said Purinton "caused physical injury" to the victim, who was later treated and released at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in nearby Utica. It was not immediately clear whether Purinton knew the victim.
Purinton played 181 games for the Rangers from 1999 to 2004, scoring four goals with 16 assists while racking up 578 penalty minutes -- serving mainly as an enforcer.
As a rookie, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native, appeared menacing, showing up at camp at the University of Vermont in Burlington with his last name tattooed across his back in big Gothic letters.
Then-coach John Muckler said of the 6-foot-2, 215-pound rookie defenseman, "He's mean, nasty and willing."
During his professional career, which included stints with three minor league hockey teams, Purinton was suspended a total of 13 times, including a 10-game suspension from the NHL on Oct. 4, 2005 -- after he attempted to eye-gouge Boston Bruins winger Colton Orr during a preseason game.
The incident effectively ended Purinton's NHL career, as he was waived by the Rangers afterward.