Exclusive: Edmonton hockey teams left in the lurch for thousands
Watch above: A Global News investigation has found hockey players, teams and businesses could be out tens of thousands of dollars because what they signed up for is not what they got. Eric Szeto reports.
EDMONTON — Several parents, players and businesses are short tens of thousands of dollars because of problems with two local recreational hockey organizers.
A Global Edmonton investigation has revealed at least $40,000 in unpaid team fees, rink rentals and equipment orders that trace back to Amanda and Clinton Marsh, an Edmonton couple with a long history of involvement in youth and adult recreational hockey. Edmonton police say they’re investigating a complaint.
Andrew Greenall was one of a number of parents who pulled their kids off the AAA Sabres, a development team managed by the Marshes. He said it was Amanda Marsh’s job to book the team’s rink rentals, but she said she couldn’t, and passed it on to him. Now he’s personally on the hook for $1,200.
“I booked the rinks because I felt the kids needed ice time,” said Greenall. “She asked me to.”
Another former Sabres parent, Corina Heppner, said she’s still waiting for the two team jackets she paid nearly $200 for.
“There’s a lot of kids involved, a lot of parents and we all work hard for our money and it’s really upsetting,” Heppner said.
Matt Jones said he started the ARHL, an adult rec league, with Amanda Marsh and another partner in 2013.
Jones said Amanda Marsh left the league last year when she couldn’t produce all the fees owed by the teams she had registered. Shortly after, Jones said a league bank card in her name was used for more than $7,500 in purchases that had nothing to do with hockey, including $400 at Wal-Mart and $1,000 at The Brick.
No one else had that card number or would have known the PIN code, Jones added.
“We went through all the transactions and not a single one was authorized or even close to being used for a hockey league. So, at the point we called police.”
Amanda and Clinton Marsh denied any wrongdoing when they were approached by Global Edmonton.
“I don’t know what it is and where it’s coming from,” Amanda Marsh said, when asked about unauthorized transactions on the ARHL bank card. “I was on the bank [account], but I never used my card. I don’t even know where my card is.”
In a later email to Global Edmonton, she reiterated her innocence:
“As an old business partner, why would he (Jones) not ask me what had happened, if I did it, or where my card is? I seriously don’t know as I have not used it once since the day we got it. I was a partner and all I did was book ice at the beginning, then bring teams to the league and then schedule timekeeper as well as refs.”
Last year, Colin Graves said he collected about $4,200 for his 14-player team to join a newly formed rec league called the ACHL, owned by Amanda Marsh. But the team’s games kept getting cancelled.
“I gave her about six to eight more chances of ice scheduling but it never happened,” said Graves. “Eventually it got to the point where we just wanted a refund.”
The league eventually folded, he said.
The people that Global Edmonton spoke to said they tried to get their money back, and some got partial refunds. Others got nothing. Always, they got excuses.
“[Amanda Marsh said] she was in a car accident, she had health issues with family,” Graves said.
“We got, ‘I’ll get it to you in a week,’ ‘I’ll get it in two weeks,'” Jones recalled. “Then we’d get $500. [We would ask] ‘Well, where’s the rest?’ [and get the reply] ‘Well, that’s all we could send.’ And it just never came.”
Heppner said she was told, “‘I’ll send it to you tomorrow,’ ‘My grandpa’s in the hospital,’ ‘My mother-in-law is going to send it to you.’ And we would wait and wait and wait.”
The Marshes said they have documentation to disprove the allegations against them. They forwarded some emails from supportive parents who described positive dealings with the pair.
“Grow up and get a life,” Clinton Marsh said in response to the couple’s critics. “I can go on social media and make whatever accusations I want and make accusations to whoever I want and then you guys come out and put everybody on TV and you make people look like criminals.”
When Global Edmonton went back to the rink where the Marshes were holding a hockey camp, to give them a further opportunity to speak, the camp had been cancelled.
In an email, Amanda Marsh said she was advised to cancel the camp for safety reasons.
“I am meeting with my lawyer to take necessary action against the parties involved,” she wrote.
She later declined Global Edmonton’s offer of a follow-up interview.
Edmonton police said their investigation is ongoing.
© Shaw Media, 2014