Awhile back, we shared the story of Jacob Trouba, the Kitchener Rangers, and the University of Michigan. He had committed to the latter, but the Rangers allegedly offered him the tidy sum of $200,000 to drop the University deal and come play for them.
This isn’t unheard of, but it’s rare to pin an exact player, team, and dollar amount to the situation.
This was done by Matt Slovin, a student-reporter in Michigan Daily.com.
The parents of Trouba immediately denied they had been offered money, Trouba reiterated that he was going to be going to Michigan, and the Kitchener Rangers got pissed at the bad press.
Stating that it was patently untrue, they threatened a lawsuit against the student-paper if the story wasn’t taken down immediately, and a formal apology issued.
And so, it’s official – the Kitchener Rangers are suing the paper for…
As bad as it looks suing a student-paper, if the story really is untrue, then, well, libel is libel.
As Kitchener’s CEO Steve Bienkowski put it:
“It’s not a threat anymore. We served the newspaper and the writer there to either back it up or retract it.”
My hunch: the story is not untrue. I’ve heard of these offers happening in the past. But then, we don’t want to get sued either, so NEVERMIND.
Bienkowski did make one really good point in their defence about the alleged offer – from the Guelph Mercury:
Bienkowski vehemently denied the claims made by the Daily and said he couldn’t hide that kind of a transaction, even if he wanted to.
“We present our audited financial statements every year,” he said. “We don’t have subsidiary companies or other businesses.”
That would be a tough one to bury.
Whether they should be allowed to offer big money for kids to play is a whole other issue. For now, we’ll just leave it right here – an OHL team is suing a student-newspaper for a million dollars, and that right there is bonkers. Everybody calllllm down.