Concussions in Minor League Hockey

Concussions in Minor League Hockey

Defendants: The CHL (Canadian Hockey League),

the WHL (Western Hockey League),

the OHL (Ontario Hockey League),

the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and

Hockey Canada

Summary: By accommodating fighting, minor league hockey associations are facilitating bare-knuckle fights by children, leading to concussions and instances of life-long brain damage.

Hockey is engrained into the Canadian culture as much as anything. Every Canadian has seen a hockey game and most know the rules. However, these rules aren’t static. All players now wear helmets and mouthguards. Overtime has been toyed with for decades. Penalties have grown more severe.

The pending Class Action lawsuit against the CHL, the WHL, the OHL, the QMJHL, and Hockey Canada - to which Guardian Law Group is the co-counsel – doesn’t wish to ruin the sport we all know and love, nor is it intended to tarnish our national pastime. To the contrary; the goal is to help hockey grow; to help reduce head traumas in youths; and to protect our children so they may continue to enjoy our beloved sport.

While a level of violence is natural in any sport, there is one instance of violence which has been outlawed in almost every sport which hockey still facilitates: bare-knuckle fist fighting. As we know, instead of suspending players, throwing them out, or fining the teams, the game stops to watch the fight, then gives them a 5-minute penalty to “cool down” and the game continues. In hockey, instead of fighting being seen as misconduct, it is viewed as “part of the game” and incorporated into play.

This lawsuit doesn’t deal with adult players choosing to fight in professional hockey leagues like the NHL. What this lawsuit deals with are minors who suffer head trauma and life-long injuries from spectated fights.

By definition, most of the players in these leagues are children. Players are as young as 15 with the bulk being under 19. After coaches, referees, officials and fans watch these children “throw down their gloves” to bare-knuckle brawl for entertainment, these children do not receive proper medical attention before being allowed back on the ice, nor are there proper protocols in place to follow-up to ensure their wellbeing. Sometimes these children lose consciousness due to these fights – a clear sign of head trauma – yet they still often don’t receive proper treatment.

When these leagues were formed, there was little-to-no knowledge about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), post-concussion syndrome, second impact syndrome, or the impacts of repeated blows to the head. Now however, we are much more clued in about the seriousness about this neurodegenerative disease and now know that is caused by repeated head injuries. Thanks for decades of research, we now know that this condition worsens over time, not improves. We now know that these injuries can be linked to lifelong troubles thinking, unstable moods, various behavioral problems, along with a disproportionately high correlation with dementia and suicide.

Please show your support for our children and all future hockey players. Hockey is more than just a sport in Canada, but until significant measures are put in place more and more young members of our society are going to suffer serious, life-altering injuries. Stand up for our minors and letting everyone know that we as a society value the safety of our youth. Let everyone know that you love hockey, and want your children to love it too.

Someday, maybe, fighting on the ice will be seen the same way as goalies playing without masks: a memory of the past.

Media Attention:

If you or someone you know has played in any of the above-listed hockey leagues since the 1974-1975 season and have experienced a brain injury or exhibited symptoms of brain trauma, please get in touch by filling out the form below.

The Process:

  1. We will need your contact information to build your file. Any Supporting documentation will help this lawsuit.
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  3. We’ll reach out to answer any questions and provide guidance on signing and notarizing the contract to become a class member.
  4. We’re going to fight for a fair settlement. We work on contingency and take a fee as a percentage, only if we win.
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