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Convicted gangster fighting to keep Habs' 1986 Cup ring

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TSN.ca Staff
8/13/2013 12:15:54 PM
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Infamous Boston mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger is headed to prison, but wants to keep his most prized possession - a Montreal Canadiens 1986 Stanley Cup ring.

The Boston Globe reports that Bulger, 83, has waived his right for a jury's decision on whether he can keep his guns, artwork, jewels and cash, but has stated in a court filing that he will put up a fight to retain the memento commemorating the Canadiens' 23rd Stanley Cup victory.

"The parties have agreed to exclude a Stanley Cup ring, which the defendant contends was a gift to him by a third-party," said the document.

Guilty verdicts on Bulger were handed down on Monday for the murder of 11 people and numerous other criminal offences. Bulger was a model for Jack Nicholson's crime boss character in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning movie The Departed.

The Globe added that Bulger, 83, likely acquired the ring through connections to former Canadiens winger Chris Nilan. According to the paper, Nilan was once married to Karen Stanley, daughter of Mr. Bulger's late girlfriend Teresa Stanley and Bulger paid for the couple's wedding.

Nilan, who works for TSN Radio 690 in Montreal, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding the ring:

"Recent media reports have inaccurately asserted that James Bulger is in possession of a 1986 Stanley Cup ring given to him by me. Those reports have no basis in fact. James Bulger was never given a Stanley Cup ring by me at any time.

I won a Stanley Cup ring as a member of the 1985-86 Montreal Canadiens. I gave that ring to my father, Henry Nilan. I am currently in possession of that ring as it is being resized as a gift to my son, Christopher.

In 1988, Montreal Canadiens general manager Serge Savard heard that I had given my original ring to my Dad and Serge generously presented me with a second Stanley Cup ring which I wear to this day.

I commissioned a jeweller here in Montreal to make three women's Stanley Cup rings for my mother, my former wife and my late mother-in-law, Teresa Stanley. My former wife and my mother remain in possession of their rings. Mrs. Stanley wore her ring in her casket and before her burial, at Mrs. Stanley's prior request, that ring was given to my daughter.

At no time, to my knowledge, did I or any member of my family give James Bulger a Stanley Cup ring. I have no idea where any ring in Mr. Bulger's possession was made and I hope that this statement provides absolute clarification in this matter."

Canadiens 1986 Stanley Cup ring (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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