The NHL is being sued for the second time by a group of retired players over the issue of concussions.
The class-action lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, seeks damages on behalf of nine former NHLers – Dan LaCouture, Jack Carlson, Mike Peluso, Dan Keczmer, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Allan Rourke, Scott Bailey and Tom Younghans – via the allegation the league unlawfully exploited its players by subjecting them to “extreme violence as a commodity” and unnecessary head trauma.
“The NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of these risks and consequences of head trauma, concealing material scientific and anecdotal information from its players,” the lawsuit goes on to allege. “The NHL has failed to institute policies and protocols that could have and will protect its players from suffering or exacerbating head trauma sustained during practice or in games.”
The newest lawsuit, which comes less than five months after a separate group of retired players sued the NHL for similar reasons, takes aim at the NHL’s culture and alleges the league “affirmatively concealed specific anecdotal evidence from players and scientific evidence about the health risks and consequences associated with playing in the NHL, including head injuries.” The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount the group is seeking.
In 2007, Toronto lawyer and professor Gord Kirke correctly predicted the league would eventually face legal action from former players.
“For a long time, players believed other players had a right to earn a living playing hockey and there used to be an unwritten code of honor that you wouldn’t take anything out in court and kept matters within the game,” Kirke told The Hockey News at the time. “But because the game has changed to a large extent and there’s a lot more violence and risk of injury…now it’s more a case of everybody for themselves.”
The lawsuit contains some curious (to say the least) connections and egregious errors – for example, comparing a hockey stick to a scythe that signifies death; misspelling Sidney Crosby's surname; referencing the brutality of the movie Gladiator before connecting it to hockey through its shared "Nordic tradition"; and erroneously listing hockey legend Gordie Howe as being deceased – but TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla didn't believe errors would result in the immediate dismissal of the case.