MV Falcons and Grey Highlands Hawks face off – in court

Image credits: Madawaska Valley Falcons (L) and Grey Highlands Hawks (R)

On November 9 last year Valley hockey fans were shocked to learn that MV Falcons Hockey Club had ceased operations with immediate effect. At the time Gary Medwid, its owner, announced that this was the result of Head Coach Norm Maracle suddenly leaving the team and taking some players with him. Maracle, who left to take up the same position with the Grey Highlands Hawks, alleged that players who followed him did so voluntarily. He also made claims about the Falcons owing him money.

In January the Falcons commenced a lawsuit against Maracle and the owners of the Hawks, Carrie Robertson and Cory LaFonte. The Current has obtained a copy of the Falcons’ Statement of Claim from the Court file in Ottawa.

This reveals that the Falcons seek damages totalling $400,000. The legal grounds stated in support of the claim are:

1. Breach of contract. The Falcons state that in September 2017 they entered into a contract with Maracle whereby he agreed to be General Manager and Head Coach of the Falcons for the period Sept. 1 2017 to Apr. 1 2018. They agreed to pay him $48,000 as compensation. The contract was also said to contain a “non-compete agreement” whereby Maracle agreed that for the period of his contract he would not “engage in any business which is competitive with the Falcons.”

In alleged breach of this contract Maracle left the Falcons in early November and immediately joined the Hawks as Coach and General Manager.

Under the terms of the contracts that the Falcons have with its players, the players were required to pay an annual fee of between $6,000 and $7,500 each to the Falcons as a condition of playing for the team. The Falcons state that Maracle had the obligation to collect these payments but that he failed to do so. Moreover, they say that he told the players not to pay the fees to the Falcons but to pay them instead to the Hawks.

2. Slander. This claim arises out of the accusation by the Falcons that Maracle falsely accused them of failing to pay his salary. The alleged slander was said to have been made to MooseFM as well as to a reporter of The Valley Gazette “knowing that these false, defamatory statements would be reported in that newspaper.”

  1. The Statement of Claim also states that the Falcons rented a home in Barry’s Bay for Maracle to use for the duration of his contract. Money is claimed for rent that Maracle is accused of not paying as well as for “extensive damage” to the home.

The Current emphasizes that these are allegations made in a court proceeding by one party against another and have not been proven.

The Current contacted Gary Medwid, the owner of the Falcons Hockey Club. Medwid told the Current today that:

The lawsuit was filed in January but its lawyers have had difficulty in serving the defendants. One was served in March but its lawyers still have been unable to serve the owners of the Hawks.

When a defence has been filed the Current will provide details of its contents.

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