For­mer Bearcat leaves Swiss league club

SC Bern con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion af­ter Mac­don­ald leaves with­out team’s per­mis­sion

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS - JEREMY FRASER SALTWIRE NET­WORK [email protected]­post.com Twit­ter: @Cb­post_­jeremy

SYD­NEY – A for­mer mem­ber of the Truro Bearcats ju­nior A hockey team may soon face le­gal ac­tion af­ter he chose to leave a Switzer­land­based team with­out per­mis­sion from the club.

An­drew Mac­don­ald of Judique, In­ver­ness County, left SC Bern of Switzer­land’s Na­tional League ear­lier this month for per­sonal rea­sons.

Ac­cord­ing to team gen­eral man­ager Alex Chate­lain, the 33-year-old de­fence­man asked for his con­tract with the team to be ter­mi­nated, but the re­quest was de­nied by the club. Mac­don­ald left the next day with­out fur­ther dis­cus­sion.

“An­drew has a valid em­ploy­ment con­tract with SC Bern un­til the end of April,” Chate­lain told the Cape Bre­ton Post via email last week. “We are in a dif­fi­cult sport­ing sit­u­a­tion and there­fore did not want to do with­out his ser­vices.”

Teams in the Swiss league are only al­lowed to carry a max­i­mum of six play­ers from out­side of Switzer­land. Among the other im­ports on the team are Cana­di­ans Chris­tian Thomas and An­drew Eb­bett.

“At this point in time, we could not have re­placed him by an­other im­port due to reg­u­la­tions,” said Chate­lain. “We un­der­stand his per­sonal sit­u­a­tion, he had a valid con­tract, and from the point of view of the club, there was no un­der­stand­able rea­son to dis­solve this con­tract.”

Mac­don­ald signed with SC

Bern on Oct. 21 af­ter be­ing re­leased from his pro­fes­sional tryout with the NHL’S Cal­gary Flames ear­lier in the month.

In an email to the Cape Bre­ton Post, Mac­don­ald’s agent, Pat Cur­cio, wouldn’t con­firm the per­sonal rea­sons why Mac­don­ald left the club, how­ever, he hinted about possible COVID-19 con­cerns.

“When all the games were post­poned with the pos­si­bil­ity of can­cel­la­tion be­cause of the coro­n­avirus, we thought it was best for An­drew to get home with his wife and children, his wife be­ing alone with the kids and con­cerns that An­drew could be quar­an­tined for a long pe­riod of time in Switzer­land,” said Cur­cio.

“We all have to agree that fam­ily comes first in th­ese un­pre­dictable times with the coro­n­avirus and game can­cel­la­tions.”

Ac­cord­ing to Chate­lain, Mac­don­ald was given “a few days off” at the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary so he could go home, while the rest of the team trained dur­ing that time.

The team says it re­serves the right to take le­gal ac­tion against Mac­don­ald, how­ever, as of now, the club tells the Post “only clarificat­ions of the pos­si­bil­i­ties have taken place.”

Cur­cio wouldn’t com­ment on the possible le­gal ac­tion.

Af­ter play­ing ma­jor midget in Cape Bre­ton in the early 2000s, Mac­don­ald played two sea­sons with the Bearcats of the Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League, be­fore join­ing the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League’s Monc­ton Wild­cats.

Mac­don­ald played two sea­sons with the Wild­cats, win­ning the 2006 QMJHL’S Pres­i­dent Cup with the New Brunswick-based team.

In 2006, the six-foot-one, 190-pound Mac­don­ald was drafted by the New York Is­lan­ders in the sixth-round, No. 160 over­all, at the NHL En­try Draft.

Mac­don­ald spent time be­tween the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s Bridge­port Sound Tigers and ECHL’S Utah Griz­zlies, be­fore mak­ing the move to the NHL.

Over his 11 sea­sons in the NHL, Mac­don­ald recorded 28 goals and 133 as­sists along with 276 penalty min­utes and a mi­nus-11 rat­ing in 586 ca­reer games be­tween the Is­lan­ders and Fly­ers.

Mac­don­ald was traded to the Philadel­phia Fly­ers on March 4, 2014, and later signed a six-year con­tract ex­ten­sion worth $30 mil­lion with the team.

Last June, the Fly­ers placed Mac­don­ald on un­con­di­tional waivers for the pur­pose of ter­mi­nat­ing the fi­nal year of his con­tract, this af­ter he recorded only nine as­sists in 47 games dur­ing the 2018-19 cam­paign.

Mac­don­ald re­ceived a pro­fes­sional tryout with the Flames, but was re­leased. He later signed with SC Bern. Terms of the con­tract were never re­leased.

He ap­peared in 15 games with the 16-time Swiss league cham­pi­ons, record­ing one as­sist. He never man­aged to se­cure a reg­u­lar spot in the team’s lineup.

Mac­don­ald rep­re­sented Canada at the 2019 Spen­gler Cup in Davos, Switzer­land, in De­cem­ber, help­ing the team de­feat HC Oce­lari Trinec, 4- 0, in the cham­pi­onship game on Dec. 31. He had one goal in four games at the tour­na­ment.

Late last week, the Na­tional League an­nounced the can­cel­la­tion of its top two di­vi­sions’ sea­son prior to the league play­offs be­cause of grow­ing con­cerns over COVID-19.

At the time, the Swiss league be­came the sev­enth Euro­pean-based hockey league to can­cel its sea­son due to the global pan­demic.

SC Bern (22-19-9- 0) won the league cham­pi­onship in 2019. At the time of the sea­son can­cel­la­tion, they weren’t in a play­off spot.

CON­TRIBUTED/SC BERN

An­drew Mac­don­ald of Judique is shown wear­ing the SC Bern jersey. Af­ter 11 sea­sons in the NHL, the de­fence­man signed with the Switzer­land team in Oc­to­ber and ap­peared in 15 games with the club.

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