Varkaus Eagles: The End?

Some sad news emanating from Varkaus is that the Eagles’ management have made a decision to cease operations. This must be considered unofficial at the moment since the only source of information is this rather vague announcement on a fans’ web site linked from the front page of the Eagles’ own site. Requests for more information from both Keith McAdams and Eagles management have yet to be replied to.

According to the announcement, the decision to quit was caused by the financial mess the club is in. How it got into that mess is a matter of speculation with the various parties apparently blaming each other, and a number of accusations relating to the financing, none of which can be verified at the moment, being levelled at McAdams. If the stories reaching here from across the pond can be believed, this would not be the first time he has been the recipient of such comments.

All of which leaves a small group of young men in Varkaus with an uncertain immediate future. A once promising ice hockey team is fast disappearing down the pan. A hopelessly under-strength squad nevertheless carved out two victories (the first in extra time) in their first two games of the season. Last weekend the chaos off the ice spread onto the ice, hardly surprisingly, and the Eagles took successive hammerings on the Saturday and Sunday. Whether the Eagles will fulfill any more fixtures is not yet known.

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11 Responses to Varkaus Eagles: The End?

  1. DIGUSTED says:

    I spoke with one of the Eagles players directly yesterday and McAdams ran off with the loot, AGAIN. he is a thief of the worst kind. STAY AWAY FROM HIM AT ALL COSTS.

  2. FormerEaglesPlayer says:

    I was playing for the Eagles when things went bad so i know the story first hand. Basically what happened was Keith was running the entire show, therefor didnt need to report the financial statesments to anyone. He the used all the money this years players gav him (close to 50 000 euros) and used it for personal reasons, bills, and what was left he pocketed. He did this because he had an agreement with Ricky Smith that Mr. Smith was to give 75 000 euros to the team, when Mr. Smith came forward to do so he asked to see the financial records, Keith denied and Mr. Smith understandably backed out, leaving the Eagles broke as a joke.

  3. muukalainen says:

    Check your e-mails, FEP.

  4. Varkaus Fan says:

    Finland Hockey teams are association, no one person has control over the organization. According to the newspapers Ricky Smith and other board members authorized payments on all bills. According to reports in Finland no money ever went personally to Keith McAdams. It was stated that Ricky Smith was in default on payments and suspended from the membership by the players. This information was provided to the local police. In fact all players voted it was OK for Mr. Smith to delay his payments. In the papers submitted, McAdams warned the team could not pay bills if Mr. Smith money did not arrive. There were criminal complaints filed against people for slander by McAdams. In Finland it is crime to say things that are not true. on the Internet.

  5. Josh Levesque says:

    i played for the eagles when things went bad as well
    i knew shit was going down, so i didnt pay the last of the money, i left, and a few days later the team folded,
    all i know is that, a bunch af decent hockey players got together, got better each game we played, won all of regular season games, had some div one teams interested in some of us…. a stepping stone up, and we all got screwed over
    i still wanna play pro hockey and im sure everyone else does
    but this has disgusted me so much, that i havent played since then
    all i wated to do was play hockey
    while we were there, it was all politics ad bull shit
    levesquejosh@hotmail.com

  6. former Eagles Player says:

    A number of guys did not pay for the transfers or housing. It is a shame some guys paid and others did not. The rumors created by some, caused players not to paid their money.

    about half the guys were scholarships, maybe every player should have been made to pay housing and transfers. When Josh and a couple of others left it and rumors caused a panic.

  7. Dan733 says:

    I wish that as a parent out of pocket by a few thousand euros there was a way we could do a group action lawsuit against the whole lot of them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    GBL CEO eyes legal options
    Comments 5
    August 16, 2010 8:50 PM
    BY EDWARD CARIFIO – SUN STAFF WRITER
    The Golden Baseball League’s recent short-lived affiliation with the Golden Gloves Professional Baseball has left league CEO Dave Kaval searching for answers.

    The answer to one of those questions — What to do now? — has already been answered. Kaval said he is exploring the league’s options and is planning to seek legal action against GGPB president Ricky Smith.

    The answer to another question — How did this happen? — is a lot more complicated.

    If the lawsuit goes through, it’s just one of many payroll-related legal issues Smith has had over the past decade, mostly stemming from his time as CEO of the World Hockey Association Junior Hockey League, including a $4.3 million judgment against the organization for dilution of the company’s stock.

    Kaval said he was unaware of the legal battles in Smith’s past. According to Kaval, the league vetted and then signed an affiliation deal with the Venezuela Baseball Federation and its president, Edwin Zerpa, in hopes of building the Scorpions into a successful team. After the deal was signed, Zerpa brought in Smith to run the operations in Yuma.

    “When we signed the deal, it was primarily signed with an entity called the Venezuelan Baseball Federation,” Kaval said. “Our negotiations started with (Zerpa), and (the federation) seemed almost like part of the state government, like the U.S. Olympic Committee. They were the ones we originally dealt with. They were the ones that brought Ricky to the table as someone who could help implement it. … He was well-regarded in the highest circles in Venezuela in the government and with the professional teams.”

    However, Zerpa said he barely knew Smith and that Smith represented himself as president of the GBL.

    “We are totally separated from him,” Zerpa said. “We have nothing to do with him, there is no relationship with him. … I never met him in person. I wasn’t in Venezuela when he came to talk to the players. He said he was the league president and we don’t even know if that is true.”

    Zerpa said repeatedly that Smith “doesn’t have our support” and only came into contact with Smith through Romy Acevedo. He said that Acevedo contacted him about Smith, who is her husband.

    “We investigated her and learned she was wanted by Interpol, so we cut off all connections to her,” Zerpa said.

    However, both Kaval and GBL commissioner Kevin Outcalt said Zerpa never informed them about this development. Kaval said he doubted the validity of Zerpa’s statement.

    An affiliation deal with the Colombian pro league in 2009 resulted in a league-worst record of 29-47 for the Scorpions. Kaval said the league was interested in making sure a more competitive team was put on the field than in 2009.

    “The key thing we were trying to vet was his ability to bring talented players to the team,” he said. “The year before, the team wasn’t good enough, so our primary focus was making sure they had good players.”

    But Zerpa said the players Smith brought were not affiliated with the VBF.

    “(Smith) came looking for players and they went on their own,” said Zerpa, who added there was no legal contract with the federation.

    However, Kaval said not only did the players tell him they were contracted through the VBF, he met many of the players who would become Scorpions on a trip to Venezuela. Outcalt made a preseason trip to Venezuela to hammer out the affiliation deal and met with top federation officials and was introduced to players by the VBF who would later become Scorpions.

    Wherever Smith came from, Kaval’s hopes of a competitive team were fulfilled as the team finished in a statistical tie for first place but lost out on the tiebreaker.

    The team may have been competitive, but the salaries certainly weren’t being paid. On July 11, Scorpion pitching coach Bill Pulsipher told the Yuma Sun that most players had not been paid for nearly a month and a half as Smith withheld their paychecks. He continued that trend with local businesses, including the Shilo Inn, which housed several of the team’s players during the season. Yuma Police Department public information officer Leanne Worthen said the Shilo Inn was considering pressing charges against Smith for not paying $15,000 he owed, but decided to pursue the case in civil court.

    Smith was named as a defendant in multiple court cases during his time as CEO of the WHA Junior Hockey League. According to a public records site, his junior hockey league, which was based out of Vancouver, Canada, had 10 cases filed against it, at least four of which involved non-payment of personnel.

    Multiple calls to Smith seeking comment went unanswered and his cell phone voicemail box was full.

    According to legal documents, this is a pattern Smith established with the WHA. There were at least four prior instances of the WHA not paying bills and being sued by those who were owed money.

    In a case involving Osoyoos, British Columbia, in 2007, Smith and the WHA were ordered to pay five staff members $22,000 in back pay, according to the Osoyoos Times. Smith and the league appealed the decision, but eventually settled. Similar cases happened in New Westminster, British Columbia, and Golden, British Columbia, with their WHA teams. According to local newspapers, both cities were owed money and threatened lawsuits.

    The only suit filed with a judgement, according to the Canadian market website Stockwatch, was one filed by Vancouver Tours, which won a settlement of more than $70,000 for unpaid bus fares.

    Sun sports editor Matt Maxson and staff writer Mara Knaub contributed to this report.

  9. Former WHA Player says:

    Smith never paid eagles or paid for sponsorship with club. There no way to go after smith he has judgments.
    He uses his NHL name and players and takes advantage of people.

    According to BC news criminal complaints were filed in Varkaus, Finland against Ricky Smith and Veikko Kupiainen.

    • muukalainen says:

      There’s some fantastic self-serving bullshit on here, funnily enough stemming from IP addresses in the New York area. Someone remind me again whereabouts the Hudson Valley Eagles were based. How would “BC news” know that criminal complaints (ha ha, the complaint was criminal?) were filed in Varkaus? Who made these complaints? Which Finnish laws did Veikko Kupiainen and Ricky Smith break? What charges were brought? What convictions resulted? The answer to all the questions is the bleedin’ obvious.

      On a completely unrelated matter, the role of Keith McAdams in the demise of Varkaus Eagles is well understood by everyone over here who’s followed this sorry story.

      • tom says:

        Hey Muukalainen, I was wondering how or if you knew any clubs in the Div 1 (3rd their) that we can contact for tryouts etc? Me and a friend are interested in coming to Finland to try and play next season.

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