The multimillion-dollar criminal prosecution against former NHL player agent Stacey McAlpine of Winnipeg has been dropped following his death.
The province's prosecutions branch confirmed Monday all charges against McAlpine, 54 — who was accused of bilking two former NHL stars — have been stayed following his death March 5.
A brief death notice published in Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press noted McAlpine, "Passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home." The cause of death has not been made public.
The notice said a longer tribute about McAlpine will follow.
Both the Manitoba Justice Department and Winnipeg Police Service said they would not comment on the death, nor on terminating the prosecution.
When contacted, Ontario-based lawyer Peter Mantas, who represented former NHL star Dany Heatley, one of two players to launch lawsuits against McAlpine, said: "Mr. Heatley has no comment."
Mantas also said he would have no comment on McAlpine's death.
Last October, the Winnipeg Police Service announced McAlpine had been arrested and charged after a commercial crime unit investigation that went on more than four years.
Police said McAlpine was accused of defrauding Heatley and longtime Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips of a total of more than $12 million between January 2004 and June 2011.
McAlpine was charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, two counts of theft over $5,000 and a charge of laundering the proceeds of crime.
Police said McAlpine would accept money from his two clients, but instead of investing it, he would used it for his personal business. They alleged McAlpine covered his tracks by supplying his clients with fraudulent account statements.
At the time of McAlpine's arrest, WPS Det.-Sgt. Cathy Antymis said police didn't collect evidence from search warrants and physical searches at various addresses, but instead collected financial statements from various financial institutions.
"It was brought to our attention in 2013 by the victims themselves," Antymis said. "Investigators entered into a lengthy investigation... This investigation is not expected to grow any further."
While police investigated, both Heatley and Phillips launched multimillion-dollar lawsuits against McAlpine.
Last year, Heatley – who played for five teams during his 12-plus seasons in the NHL – was awarded a $6.5-million judgment. Phillips, who played his entire 17-season career with the Senators, won a $3.2-million judgment.
Both players ended their NHL careers in the 2014-15 season.
Antymis said the criminal investigation and civil suit were separate matters. "The civil matter did not either add to or discourage the investigation as it went on," she said.
McAlpine ran unsuccessfully for the St. James-Assiniboia school board trustee position before police finished their investigation. At the time, he was willing to discuss the civil suit.
"I'm happy to talk about it," he said in May 2016. "The more people know the truth, the better it is for me. That's the only way I can get the word out."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Updated on Monday, March 12, 2018 at 5:20 PM CDT: corrects team name
7:10 PM: Final edit