Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane denies he was instigator

Jet's response to civil suit says claimant attacked him

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Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane has gone on the offensive, claiming he was the real victim of a Vancouver street fight now the subject of a civil court case.

Kane, 22, was hit with a lawsuit earlier this spring that contained allegations he assaulted a B.C. man in August 2013. Les Makievsky claims he suffered extensive physical and emotional injuries when Kane randomly attacked him outside a bar. He is seeking unspecified financial damages.

Kane has provided a much different version of events in a statement of defence that has now been filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. While he admits getting physical, Kane provides a detailed backstory to what allegedly occurred.

Kane, who was born in B.C. and spends much of the NHL off-season there, admits he's known Makievsky for the past four years and identified him as an employee of a downtown Vancouver nightclub.

Kane says he was walking to his home around 2 a.m. on the night in question when Makievsky approached him on the sidewalk. He claims Makievsky was "highly confrontational" and shouting insults at him. No reasons or motive was provided.

"When the defendant (Kane) attempted to walk away, the plaintiff (Makievsky) said 'Let's go' and suggested the defendant should engage in a physical fight with him," the statement of defence reads.

'To prevent the plaintiff from hitting him and to repel a further attack, the defendant responded by punching the plaintiff three times' -- Evander Kane's statement of defence

Kane says he declined the invitation to duke it out and continued walking. He claims Makievsky then "charged" at him while "swinging at his head."

"To prevent the plaintiff from hitting him and to repel a further attack, the defendant responded by punching the plaintiff three times," says the statement of defence.

Kane says Makievsky fell to the ground, but quickly got up and took another shot in his direction. Kane says he "pushed him back and told him to stop," then left the area with no further incident.

Kane claims Makievsky was not injured in any way and was back at work the following evening, where he "boasted that he planned to sue the defendant." Kane's statement doesn't say if that was said directly to him or overheard by another party.

To bolster his defence, Kane notes Vancouver police were contacted by Makievsky following the incident and declined to lay any criminal charges based on insufficient evidence.

Kane says he was only protecting himself and "used no more than reasonable force" in the process. He says his conduct "was neither excessive nor unnecessary in the circumstances" and Makievsky's lawsuit should be tossed out of court.

No date for a hearing has been set.

Kane was required by law to file a statement of defence if he planned to contest the allegations against him. He also has the option of filing a countersuit against Makievsky if he feels the original claim is frivolous or malicious, but that has not been done at this point.

Makievsky is being represented by the Vancouver law firm of Slater Vecchio LLP, which specializes in personal-injury claims. Two lawyers involved in the file have refused to comment, saying they will do their talking in court.

Kane has retained the services of the Vancouver firm of Gall Legge Grant Munroe LLP. Kane's agent, Craig Oster, previously told the Free Press it's not unusual for high-profile athletes such as Kane to find themselves being targeted in legal action. The Winnipeg Jets also confirmed they were aware of the legal matter but declined to comment.

In the statement of claim, Makievsky says he was jumped by Kane as he walked home from work in the area of Burrard Street and Barclay Street.

Makievsky claims he suffered a concussion and numerous injuries to his head, neck, back, shoulders, chest, ribs and leg. He also cites ongoing headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia as a result.

"The injuries have and will continue to cause him suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent physical disability, loss of earning capacity and loss of housekeeping capacity," his lawsuit reads.

Makievsky claims he's also suffered extensive costs for ongoing medical treatment. He also cites "emotional injuries... including injuries to his feelings, dignity, pride and self-respect in all aspects of his personal and vocational pursuits."

Makievsky says these physical and emotional injuries are obvious to anyone around him, and "he is perceived and treated in a different manner by members of the public." No further details are offered, but the lawsuit says specifics will be presented at trial.

"The assault and battery upon the complainant by the defendant was unprovoked and premeditated," the lawsuit reads. "The conduct of the defendant was callous, disgraceful, outrageous, extreme, malicious, offensive, reprehensible and represented a marked departure from ordinary standards of reasonable behaviour."

Kane signed a six-year, $31.5-million contract in 2012 with the Jets, who are banking on him to emerge as a bona fide NHL star.

He was seventh on the team in scoring last season, with 19 goals and 22 assists in 63 games.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2014 A3

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