Police are investigating whether 60 Canadian hockey players were defrauded after an expensive trip to Europe allegedly fell flat on promises to showcase their skills for professional scouts.

Billed as a “dream” opportunity, parents say their sons — mostly from Ontario — ponied up thousands of dollars each in exchange for what they believed would be a potentially career-advancing tournament in France.

They say they were told by Ontario Central Scouting the tournament could lead to the chance to play in Europe for one to four years, if the scouts liked what they saw.

When the group of players, most of whom are in their late teens, arrived in Paris, however, there were no international teams, no scouts and no tournament.

In an interview yesterday with CTV, player Jordan Lass of Kitchener, Ont., called the trip a huge letdown.

“I felt like I just got kicked in the gut,” Lass said.

Const. Adam Minnion with Peel Region police said investigators haven't yet drawn conclusions on whether it is a fraud or civil matter.

Officers began investigating several days ago when parents complained to them that their sons had paid $3,500 for a trip that hadn't panned out as expected. They’re now working on gathering information from all the players involved, most of whom live within a 200 to 300 kilometre radius of the Toronto area.

A spokesman for Ontario Central Scouting says the players have nothing to complain about.
“In terms of what they were promised, in terms of the contracts they signed, pretty much everything was delivered,” Victor Criscuolo told CTV.

The parents and players all signed a letter that outlined what they would get for their money, including airfare, accommodation, breakfast and four guaranteed games, Criscuolo said. The letter makes no mention of international tournaments, he added.