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Stop 'wild stories': Burke lawyer

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VANCOUVER -- Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has filed a lawsuit with B.C. Supreme Court, saying he was defamed in online comments accusing him of having an extra-marital affair with a sports reporter.

Burke alleges the online comments published by 18 people, whose identities are unknown to him, are untrue.

Burke's statement of claim says the online comments were widely circulated on social media. His statement says the online remarks claim that Burke was fired as the president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs because what the comments say was a sexual relationship with Rogers Sportsnet reporter Hazel Mae.

"Contrary to popular belief, the reason for Burke's firing was not his willingness to pull off the Roberto Luongo trade..." says one of the comments noted in the court documents. "Well it didn't take long for Brian Burke and Hazel Mae to hook up. In the summer of 2012, Sportsnet removed her from the glass desk because she wouldn't fit, insisting that she stand while on air."

According to the statement of claim, the online postings went on to suggest that Mae was pregnant, and that the "lucky dad" is Burke.

In a statement released on Friday, Burke's lawyer Peter Gall said the comments, allegedly made under pseudonyms such as "Slobberface" and "Mowerman," are false and defamatory, and that they have hurt both Burke's and Mae's families.

"Brian has decided that it is time to stop people who post comments on the Internet from thinking they can fabricate wild stories with impunity," Gall said. "Brian is determined to find the authors of the lie about him and those who have circulated the lie."

The court documents say Burke is suing for losses and damages to his reputation. His lawyer is also seeking to have each of the 18 defendants restrained from publishing the statements on the Internet.

None of the claims have been proven in court, and a statement of defence has not been filed.

Burke, who is married to CTV News Channel anchor Jennifer Burke, was fired as the general manager of the Leafs in January. The former Vancouver Canucks general manager is now a part-time scout for the Anaheim Ducks.

Popeye proud pa of puck prodigy

CHICAGO -- Amid a hectic week as a Nets assistant coach, helping the team through a tough playoff series, Popeye Jones did have a few moments to be a proud father. His son, Seth, a defenceman, was officially named the No. 1 North American prospect for the National Hockey League draft by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

That put the younger Jones, 18, in position to be the first African-American to be hockey's top overall draft pick.

"You think about all the hard work that he's done, how he started playing hockey at 5. You think about all the early mornings, all the dedication, leaving home at 16 and going to Ann Arbor for the U.S. national development program. Now he's living in Portland in the Western Hockey League," Popeye said before the Nets' game on Saturday. "You just think of how quickly he had to grow up, how he had to mature fast."

All three of Jones' sons took up hockey when he was playing for the Nuggets and the family lived in the Denver suburbs.

"All of the kids played street hockey. When it got cold, all the kids said they were going inside to play ice hockey," the dad said. "Just being a sports guy, growing up playing basketball, football and baseball, it didn't matter what sport they played. Sports are meant to be fun. Kids learn camaraderie and teamwork and stuff like that."

Seth quickly became a standout. This season, he led the United States to the world junior championship in Russia. His Portland Winterhawks team also is in the playoffs, having made the WHL final.

Caps sign Neuvirth for 2 years

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have signed goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $5 million contract extension.

Neuvirth will make $2.4 million next season and $2.6 million in 2014-15 in the deal announced by the Capitals on Saturday.

The 25-year-old goalie ranks third in career wins in franchise history with 55, but he's become the backup this season behind Braden Holtby as the Southeast Division champions prepare for the start of the playoffs next week.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2013 B2

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