The story made headlines at the start of the season, when it was reported that Winnipeg police charged an ex-NHL agent with fraud alleging he bilked former Ottawa Senators Chris Phillips and Dany Heatley out of $12 million. We are not talking small amount of money, here. Both players had long NHL career and worked hard to earn their salary. However, they trusted it with a man named Stacey Don McAlpine, who ended up laundering and stealing more than $12 million of it while acting as their agent and business adviser between 2004 and 2011.
He allegedly used the money for personal business and covered it up by giving the players fake account statements.
However, there is a shocking and unfortunate twist in the scandal. It has now been reported that McAlpine past away on March 5. An obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press explained that McAlpine, aged just 54 years old, died at home in his sleep.
Following the announcement of his passing, court officials confirmed the charges against McAlpine were stayed on March 7, just two days later.
While the defrauding and money laundering took place from 2004 to 2011, the Winnipeg Police Service was alerted by Heatley and Phillips in 2013. Then at the start of the current season, police made the official announcement that they had charged McAlpine with fraud, theft and money laundering.
Heatley was awarded a $6.5-million judgment in Calgary against companies McAlpine was involved with. Court documents say McAlpine acted as Phillips' player agent from about 1995 to 2011 and was also his investment advisor. Last September, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded Phillips $3,296,917 in a judgment against McAlpine, his parents and three companies they controlled.
"After years of pursuing this case, I am pleased that the Winnipeg police have also become involved and made this arrest," Heatley said in a statement at the time.
Heatley, who was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2001 as a winger, spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators before stints with the San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks. He played a total of 869 games in the NHL, scoring 372 goals and 791 points.
Phillips spent his entire NHL career with the Senators playing 1,179 games and amassing 288 points, before retiring back in 2016 and joined the team’s front office in a community relations and alumni role.