LOS ANGELES — Former NHLer Claude Lemieux plans to fight a fraud lawsuit filed against him and his player representation agency 4Sports & Entertainment in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Canada-based Wintersports Ltd., run by sports agent Ritch Winter, filed the suit against Lemieux and 4Sports on Wednesday, the U.S. website Courthouse News Service reported on Friday. The website said that Windersports alleges Lemieux and his agency defrauded Winters of $500,000, tried to steal his employees and interfered with contract negotiations.
"Unfortunately, as a result of our recent just cause termination of Mr. Winter, he has decided to challenge our decision by filing a lawsuit containing baseless allegations," said Lemieux in a statement late Friday night. "He has followed this path rather than following the mandatory arbitration procedures of the NHLPA certified agent program.
"As a result, we will vigorously defend any and all allegations raised by Mr. Winter and assert all defences and potential claims in response to his baseless accusations."
Some of 4Sports hockey player clients include Frederik Andersen, Cody Hodgson, Brandon Prust and Mathieu Perreault.
Lemieux played for the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks over 21 NHL seasons, retiring as a player after the 2008-09 season.
He earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1993 as a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Canadiens.
Lemieux was named 4Sports' president for North America on Jan. 26, 2011.
The Canadian Press