Apparently, the Kitchener Rangers are none too pleased with the accusations that the Rangers have offered Michigan recruit Jacob Trouba $200,000.00 to sign with the Rangers and forego his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.
Sunaya Sapurji, Yahoo! Sports --- Steve Bienkowski, the Rangers’ chief operating officer, flatly denied the report and any kind of payment offered to the Trouba family. In addition, Bienkowski said the team has retained a lawyer and will purse the matter legally.
“We’re going to look at every legal remedy we have against the newspaper, the reporter and these so-called unnamed sources in the OHL who need to be held accountable for basically saying lies against our organization,” said Bienkowski in a phone interview from Halifax.
Unlike most OHL teams, the Rangers are community-owned and not a privately held company. As such, an external accounting firm audits their financial statements and those accounts are presented to season-ticket holders each year.
“The reality is there’s nowhere to hide the kind of money people are accusing us of paying,” said Bienkowski, who is a chartered accountant himself.
“But it is what it is, we’ve been targeted before and I’m sure we’ll be targeted in the future.”
This is not the first time an OHL team – or the Rangers – have been accused of paying players large sums of money to play for them. Last summer Paul Kelly, the then-executive director of College Hockey Inc., an arm of NCAA hockey, accused teams of paying players though no proof was ever produced.
I do think it’s funny that the Kitchener Rangers are going to go after a the student run newspaper The Michigan Daily – I have a hard time believing that the editor of the newspaper would let that story go if the rumor hadn’t come from a reliable source. Especially when the author of that story is working at a major newspaper as an intern in Maryland during the summer, I can’t see him jeopardizing his future journalism career with a story that can’t be substantiated.
Also the Press Release from the Trouba family denies that money was offered and went on to say that Jacob Trouba will honor his commitment to the University of Michigan.
“There is absolutely no truth or merit to the recent media reports that the Kitchener Rangers have..."
"...offered Jacob any remuneration. We have the utmost respect for the Kitchener Rangers and those that choose the CHL as an option..."
So as college hockey fans we wait on pins and needles to see if there are any more stories like this emerge – especially the teams that recruited players from the USNDT.
Make no mistake; the CHL teams isn’t going to back off, commitment to NCAA teams mean nothing to them and they will attempt to lure more of the best blue chip American hockey players with promises that the CHL is a quicker route to the NHL than the NCAA route.
In the end both routes are good avenues to making the NHL – all you have to do is look at the top free agents available during the free agent signing period – a good number of them played in the NCAA before they made it to the NHL – see Zach Parise, Jason Garrison, Ryan Suter just to name a few off the top of my head.