Thursday night, The Michigan Daily issued a statement in response to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers lawsuit against the paper, student-reporter Matt Slovin and his anonymous source.
On June 28 The Michigan Daily published an article on its website that said hockey player Jacob Trouba was considering an offer to play for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. The article was updated to include further developments on July 2, July 3 and July 4. The Rangers and the Trouba family have denied the offer, and the Rangers have threatened legal action. The Daily stands behind the story and the reporter, Matt Slovin. The Daily will respond to threats of legal action in an appropriate fashion.
So it’s game on now. Kitchener has filed its suit and the Daily has now publicly affirmed its story. This is probably not the result the Kitchener Rangers were expecting. So now it’s on them to pursue the case or drop it.
Some analysis of the case was covered earlier today on USofH and why this lawsuit may be more trouble for Kitchener and the Ontario Hockey League than its worth.
The Rangers may be backed into a corner now into where they have to stand by their word and pursue this case despite the fact that it is unlikely they will be able to collect damages. This is due to the SPEECH Act protecting U.S. media outlets from foreign libel/defamation judgments so long as the report satisfies First Amendment standards. Should the Daily lose the case, most likely the worst that will happen is the defendants would be denied entry into Canada due to the outstanding judgment (via Student Press Law Center).
This case has so many different angles of importance from how the Canadian Hockey League’s member leagues and clubs do their business to NCAA vs. CHL recruitment to journalism ethics and “libel tourism.” The eyes of more than just the hockey world will be fixed on these proceedings.
The United States of Hockey will be following Kitchener Rangers Junior A Hockey Club v. The Michigan Daily, Matt Slovin and John Doe very closely and will provide updates as they become available.
Catch up with USofH coverage here:
REPORT: Kitchener Put in Big Money Offer for Trouba — July 3
Kitchener Apparently Suing Michigan Daily Over Trouba Report — Updated July 10
Kitchener Lawsuit Could Put Whole System on Trial — July 12
Power Play Radio Show with Christian Arnold — July 10
Gospel of Hockey with Matt Gajtka and Larry Arnold — July 13
For another opinion on the case, check out this post at Puck & Gavel, a blog maintained by a New York-based attorney. Very interesting read on the matters at hand.
Anna Clark, of Salon.com and an alumna of The Michigan Daily, weighed in on the lawsuit, the Daily’s storied history and what this case might mean for student journalism.
Barry Petchesky of Deadspin offers his thoughts on the case.
The latest from Y! Sports Canada’s junior hockey blog, Buzzing the Net.
As a player that’s had to weigh the CHL-NCAA decision before, Justin Bourne shared a few thoughts over at Backhand Shelf.