|Ottawa Senator Chris Neil gets the crowd into the game after a fight during a game. (QMI Agency)
One of the creditors of Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil came within a whisker of showing up at an Ottawa-Toronto Maple Leaf game with a sign demanding the money he owed them.
But Brock Aggregates thought better of the plan to embarrass Neil at the Air Canada Centre and decided to stick with other means of collecting the $46,827 owed them by the NHL tough guy.
"We were going to go with a sign. That would have been good," Sarah Varrati, manager of credit and collections at Brock, joked Monday when told of a court hearing in London this week.
A judge will consider final details in a proposal that would see the bankrupt NHLer's 45 creditors receive about 20 cents on the dollar.
A report from his trustee shows Neil owes his creditors $2.4 million. He has available assets of $544,451 after his trustee receives its cut of $104,671.
Secured creditors are to receive $321,139.
Among his creditors are FS Partners, a Kitchener-based agricultural co-operative for $902,386; Canada Revenue Agency, $84,053; Royal Bank and Scotiabank, more than $200,000 each; Lease Capital Corporation of Canada, $102,979 and Agmin Equipment Ltd., for $156,655.
Varrati, at Concord-based Brock, said though she never met Neil, everyone in the company knew they were doing business since 2002 with the hockey star through Flesherton-based Neil Brothers Construction.
The business, which specializes in excavation work, stopped paying its bills in 2006, she recalled, which prompted Brock to consider its options to recoup its money.
Brock, she said, has since received $18,000 of the amount owed from Neil's trustee in Owen Sound.
A construction business in Owen Sound is owed $31,000 by Neil but an official there declined to comment.
"We'd like our money," the woman said. "But if it's not there, it's not there."
She expressed some puzzlement Neil can make so many millions in hockey yet leave creditors with cents on the dollar from his business transactions.
Flesherton native Neil is ending the first year of a four-year pact that pays him $2 million a year.
Neil, 30, has been in the NHL for nine years, where he has gained a reputation as a tough guy. He entered the construction business with his brothers Jeff, Dan and Jay.
His agent, Todd Reynolds, said he was aware of Neil's financial troubles but said the arrangement with creditors was first made when he was making about half his current salary.
"I think he really wasn't that involved in the business," he said, noting Neil's first preoccupation is his hockey career.
He said like other players Neil was called upon to become involved in a business and then because of his relatively deep pockets get the creditor attention when things turn bad.
"The player ends up being the one responsible," Reynolds said. "It's probably a classic case of that."