Canadian student surprised by libel suit from Leafs' ex-GM

April 30, 2013 at 11:26 AM
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VICTORIA, British Columbia, April 30 (UPI) -- A Canadian journalism student says he is surprised to be named in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Zack Bradley, 20, is among 18 people being sued by Brian Burke for posting comments referring to his alleged affair with Hazel Mae, a reporter for Rogers Sportsnet, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

Burke calls their comments on a rumor he fathered a child with Mae "false" and "defamatory." In a suit filed last week in British Columbia Supreme Court, he seeks an injunction to prevent their publication and undisclosed damages and costs.

Bradley, a first-year student at Carleton University, said he heard the comments about Burke and Mae from a friend and on various online hockey forums.

When he wrote about the comments on his blog, Bradley said he noted it was "speculation."

After hearing about Burke's suit, Bradley said he took the post down.

He wondered why 18 comments were such "a big deal."

Allen Mendelsohn, who represents the owner of one of the blogs named in the suit, questioned the soundness of Burke's suit. He said the suit attributes to 18 people four statements made by one person.

"Nowhere does it say that the other 17 defendants specifically republished one of those four defamatory statements," Mendelsohn said.

Burke, 57, was the Leafs' GM from November 2008 to January 2013 and is now doing some scouting for Anaheim.

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