Lawyers for the NHL Players’ Association are scheduled to appear by video conference before an Ontario judge Tuesday in an effort to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former union employee who alleges the NHLPA covered up a theft of more than $100,000 in union funds by one of its executives.
The allegation of a cover-up was included in an $8.7 million wrongful dismissal case filed Nov. 3 by Allan Etherington, a 50-year-old former technical support analyst who worked for the NHLPA from Sept. 10, 2008 until Feb. 13, 2019. Etherington has also accused the union of income tax and insurance fraud.
Etherington is seeking $4 million for general damages, $2.5 million in punitive damages, and additional damages for future income loss and earning capacity.
Union officials named as defendants in the case include Stephen Frank, the NHLPA’s former director of technology and security information technology; former NHL player Mathieu Schneider, who is now a special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr; union lawyer Roman Stoykewych; chief financial officer Richard Smit; director of finance Stephen Sax; and chief of global business strategies Sandra Monteiro.
The NHLPA has denied Etherington’s claims and asked a judge to dismiss the case. The union’s lawyers wrote in a motion filed Feb. 10 in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto that Etherington’s claim “contains bare, unfounded and irrelevant allegations, including of criminal and/or illegal conduct, and is scandalous and inflammatory.”
In a statement emailed to TSN in December, NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon wrote Etherington's claim contained numerous false statements and groundless and irrelevant allegations. In a July 5 email to TSN, Weatherdon said the NHLPA stands by its December statement.