It looks like the Kitchener Rangers' libel lawsuit against the Ann-Arbor-based newspaper, The Michigan Daily, won't brought in front of a judge after all.
Instead, the two parties have reached a settlement out of court and that the University of Michigan's school newspaper have removed the July 2 article in which based on an anonymous OHL source, the Rangers offered Jacob Trouba $200,000 to play for them. The Rangers denied the report and responded with the $1-million lawsuit days after the article was published.
Trouba's OHL rights belong to the Rangers, who drafted the Rochester, Michigan native in the third round of the 2010 OHL Priority Selection. The last two seasons, Trouba has played for the Ann Arbor-based US National Team Development Program (US NTDP) of the United States Hockey League (USHL) and last year he made a verbal committment to the University of Michigan. Trouba was the ninth overall selection in this past June's NHL Draft.
The lawsuit was dropped days after the Rangers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the OHL. Last Friday, the OHL slapped the Windsor Spitires with a $400,000 fine as well as giving up three first-round picks in the 2013, 2015 and 2017 OHL Priority Selections and two second-round picks in the 2014 and 2016 OHL Priority Selections.
The following is a statement from Kitchener Rangers' Chief Operating Officer, Steve Bienkowski, courtesy of the team's website:
"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 defense 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."