Nine former NHL players filed major class action lawsuits against the National Hockey League in a U.S. District Court on Thursday, alleging that the league has generated billions of dollars while subjecting its players to 'the imminent risk of head trauma' leading to 'devastating and long-term negative health consequences.'
The players in the suit - Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Mike Peluso, Tom Younghans, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey - are represented by Robbins Geller, the firm that won over $7 billion for victims of the 2001 Enron fraud.
"As opposed to other elite-level ice hockey organizations, like the European ice hockey leagues and the Olympics, the NHL fostered and promoted an extremely physical game of ice hockey," read the complaint.
"Through enclosed rink designs and lax rules for fighting, the NHL vectored a culture of extreme violence and packaged the spoils to adoring fans.
"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 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.
"Specifically, despite the fact that the NHL's violent game design induces head trauma, including concussions, the NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of the risks to their lives and the devastating and long-term negative health effects. In fact, the NHL 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. To maintain its billions in revenue, the NHL also purposefully failed to institute policies and protocols that would protect its players from exacerbating injuries sustained during practice or in games."
The NHL will release a statement on Thursday afternoon addressing the lawsuits.
More to follow.