Sports reporter arrested, jailed after allegedly issuing death threat to WHL player

Brian Costello
Spokane Chiefs at Kelowna Rockets

A freelance reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. was arrested and appeared in court this week after a report surfaced she allegedly uttered a death threat to her ex-boyfriend, Jackson Playfair, a right winger for the Western League’s Tri-City Americans.

Tieja MacLaughlin, 25, and Playfair, 19, had been in a relationship since July and according to the Tri-City Herald, MacLaughlin threatened to kill Playfair after learning he had been on a date with someone else.

The Herald obtained a police document and reported MacLaughlin told Playfair last Friday she was on her way to Kennewick, Wash., where the Americans are based, to confront him. During the phone call, she allegedly told Playfair “he would be dead by the end of the night.”

In an interview with police, MacLaughlin denied making the threat, according to a court document.

Playfair told police authorities in Kennewick and they confronted MacLaughlin at an area hotel and informed her she would be placed under arrest if she had further contact with him. She allegedly promised to return to Canada and cease making contact with Playfair.

MacLaughlin then reportedly contacted Playfair by text message asking him to meet her at the Kennewick hotel. Police told Playfair to pretend to agree to the meeting, then dispatched officers to arrest her Jan. 18. She is being held without bail.

MacLaughlin appeared in court Jan. 21 on charges of felony threats, the Herald reported. According to court documents, she denied making threatening statements to Playfair.

Playfair told Kennewick police he and MacLaughlin had been dating since July and admitted their relationship “has been a rocky one.”

Playfair is the son for former NHL player and coach Jim Playfair and the nephew of long-time ex-Sabre Larry Playfair. Jackson Playfair spent last season and most of this season with the Spokane Chiefs before a trade to Tri-City in Jan. 10.

MacLaughlin is a freelance report in Kelowna, B.C., and has covered the local Rockets WHL team for the Kelowna Daily Courier and Castanet Media. She is a graduate of Wilfred Laurier University in Kitchener, Ont., and according to her LinkedIn profile previously worked or interned for the Kitchener Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

THN attempted to contact MacLaughlin, but she did not respond.

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN