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Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane — a frequent lightning rod for controversy — has once again found himself the target of an off-ice distraction.
Court documents obtained by the Free Press show Kane has been accused of an assault that allegedly occurred in Vancouver last summer.
A Vancouver-area man named Lev Makievsky is seeking unspecified financial damages from Kane in a statement of claim filed last week in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. None of the allegations has been proven.
Kane has 30 days to file a statement of defence. If he feels the claim is frivolous or malicious, he can countersue Makievsky.
The Free Press has learned Vancouver police previously investigated Makievsky's version of events and ultimately took no action against Kane, who was born in B.C. and spends much of his off-season there.
'We did investigate allegations of an assault on that day and at that location, but given the circumstances of the incident there were no arrests made and there was insufficient evidence to support or recommend any criminal charge. From our perspective, the matter is considered closed'‐ Vancouver police Const. Brian Montague
"We did investigate allegations of an assault on that day and at that location, but given the circumstances of the incident there were no arrests made and there was insufficient evidence to support or recommend any criminal charges," Const. Brian Montague told the Free Press on Wednesday. "From our perspective, the matter is considered closed."
Makievsky clearly doesn't agree, having now turned to the civil courts. He is being represented by the Vancouver law firm of Slater Vecchio LLP, which specializes in personal-injury claims. Two lawyers involved in the file refused to comment when contacted Wednesday, saying they will do their talking in court.
Kane's agent, Craig Oster, said they haven't seen the statement of claim yet. He declined to comment on the specific allegations but said it's telling that no charges were ever laid. Oster said it's not unusual for high-profile athletes such as Kane to find themselves being targeted in legal action.
"Evander and us will ensure we do all that we can to ensure that his rights are protected," said Oster. He said there doesn't appear to be any prior history or relationship between Kane and the man now suing him.
"This is sort of out of the blue," said Oster.
Scott Brown, director of communications for the Winnipeg Jets, confirmed Wednesday the team is aware of the legal matter.
"As you can imagine, we have no comment. This is a personal issue for Mr. Kane," Brown said.
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. But he has struggled at times this season, including stints on the injured list that have seen him miss 18 games. Kane currently has 17 goals and 21 assists through 59 games.
In the lawsuit, Makievsky claims he was jumped by Kane as he walked home from work in the area of Burrard Street and Barclay Street in Vancouver on the evening of Aug. 10, 2013. Makievsky was working in promotions for a nearby bar at the time.
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.
Makievsky hasn't put a price tag on the suit but says he is seeking general, specific, punitive and aggravated damages from Kane.
"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."
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Makievsky did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday.
This isn't the first time Kane has become tied up in legal matters. Last September, he was hit with a Manitoba court order to garnish his wages for refusing to pay a pair of outstanding traffic tickets. The provincial government took the unusual step of filing a Court of Queen's Bench motion in an attempt to recoup $650.80 in fines and costs from Kane.
Typically, applications for garnishment are only made in cases where all attempts to contact the party and have them make payment have failed. Kane quickly settled the matter by paying the outstanding balance.
In 2012, Kane came under fire for tweeting a picture of himself holding stacks of money on a Las Vegas hotel balcony, pretending it was a telephone. The poorly timed tweet happened while NHL players were locked out by owners in a dispute over money, which delayed the start of the season by more than three months and angered fans across the country.
Kane, for the record, shrugged it off as a joke people didn't understand.
Mike McIntyre Sports columnist
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
WINNIPEG — Evander Kane had little reaction this morning to a civil lawsuit filed against him last week in Vancouver.
The Jets’ left-winger took three questions on the matter after this morning’s skate at the MTS Centre.
Kane was asked whether he had anything to say about the lawsuit.
“No. No I don’t,” he said.
“Did it catch you off-guard?”
“Nothing surprises me,” Kane said.
He was also asked if he knew why he seemed to be a lightning rod for controversy.
“I’m not the only... not the first nor the last. I don’t consisder myself a lightning rod,” he said. “Many things have happened. I think it’s just part of (being) a Canadian market. Every little thing becomes a big thing.”