It appears the drama between the Kitchener Rangers and The Michigan Daily has reached its anti-climactic end as the two sides have reached a settlement according to the Rangers.
Steve Bienkowski, COO of the Kitchener Rangers, explained the settlement in a statement today.
The Michigan Daily has removed the article that caused the Kitchener Rangers to commence legal proceedings against the newspaper and the reporter, Matt Slovin. As they have acceded to what was from the outset the Kitchener Rangers’ primary demand, we are discontinuing the legal proceedings as against the newspaper and Mr. Slovin.
The Kitchener Rangers remain gravely concerned about the ease with which a source hiding behind the cloak of anonymity was able to spread the false allegation that our organization offered Jacob Trouba financial compensation.
We are not discontinuing the action against the anonymous source. Although truth would be a complete defence to the libel action, we fully expect that the source will not have the courage to step forward, as there is not a shred of truth to the allegation, as the Ontario Hockey League investigation has now confirmed.
It is unfortunate that there are individuals so intent on harming our organization that they would fabricate and disseminate harmful lies. It is particularly unfortunate that they chose to implicate Jacob Trouba and his family, who should not have had to answer to the baseless allegation.”
Thoughts after the jump.
The Michigan Daily has since published a clarification in addition to removing the story in question from its website.
It is not in the least bit surprising that this never saw a courtroom. Based on what the Daily‘s attorney was talking about throughout the process, he was more than willing to put the entire Canadian Hockey League on trial.
However, last week, the when the OHL dropped the hammer on the Windsor Spitfires for recruiting impropriety, Commissioner Dave Branch also revealed that the league found no wrongdoing in the Kitchener case, which Bienkowski was sure to point out in his statement.
Perhaps that was the tipping point for the Daily to finally decide to take down the story, one that they vehemently defended early on. The clarification the Daily printed isn’t a full admission that the reporting or reporter was wrong, but does express regret in editing errors that didn’t make the story complete.
Another interesting thing to note the rest of Kitchener’s statement is the part calling out the anonymous source. It’s a warning shot fired at anyone that plans on making accusations against the club. There’s no way the source is coming forward, and they don’t have to, but Kitchener was sure to flex a little muscle at the end there. They weren’t just talking to the anonymous source in the Jacob Trouba case.
This was an unfortunate saga in the NCAA-CHL recruiting battle. However unfortunate, it was also kind of important.
Even though the Daily has backed off its story, it started a number of very important conversations regarding what goes on in this highly contentious recruiting battle.
Apparently the Windsor investigation took place over the last year, but you have to wonder if what happened with the Kitchener allegations accelerated the OHL’s process in that case.
All of this happening in relatively quick succession could be coincidence, but it kind of feels like it’s not.
With Kitchener essentially cleared in this instance, attention will turn exclusively to the Windsor Spitfires. The details are still scant on the circumstances surrounding the OHL’s most significant punishment to date. Bob Duff had the latest intriguing article trying to piece together what might have happened.
It has been an eventful summer for the CHL vs. NCAA war. It may never fully end, but it appears that significant steps are being taken to get certain elements of the feud under control. It’s a good thing, too. While the ongoing battle has had its moments of entertainment and drama, it’s getting old, and more than that, it’s becoming detrimental to the game.