NHL

Westhead: More NHL players sue league for concussions

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Rick Westhead, TSN Senior Correspondent
8/3/2014 2:04:09 PM
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The National Hockey League has been hit with another lawsuit filed by former players who charge the league markets and profits from extreme violence.

The latest lawsuit, which also alleges NHL officials are aware of the dangers of head trauma but downplay those risks, was filed July 25 in New York.

Former New York Islanders forward Chris Ferraro, who played 74 NHL games from 1996 to 2002, and Dan Fritsche, who played 256 games in the league between 2003 and 2009, are the only former players listed as complainants.

The legal documents, however, say lawyers are seeking to pursue the case as a class action lawsuit and that there are more than 100 potential class members. The documents do not say how much money the players are seeking from the league, but outline that the case involves move than $5 million.

Neither Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, nor a lawyer for Fritsche and Ferraro, responded to emails seeking comment.

The lawsuit is the latest of several filed by hundreds of former players against the NHL in recent months.

The league met with lawyers for the players in St. Louis last week to discuss with a judge the appropriate venue for the litigation, which may be combined into one case.

A judge will decide within a few weeks on a venue. The NHL wants the case to be heard in New York or Washington, while lawyers for some of the players prefer Minnesota, because they think they would argue their case in front of a more sympathetic jury there.

In the latest case, lawyers for Fritsche and Ferraro have asked that the NHL be ordered to introduce a medical monitoring program to care for former and current NHL players who will have lifelong health problems and risks because of the league's alleged misconduct.

"The NHL has intentionally created, fostered, and promoted a culture of extreme violence, including violence from fighting. The NHL has known that, due to such violence, head trauma to plaintiffs and the class has been and is imminent," the lawsuit says. "The NHL has known that head trauma to plaintiffs and the class has and will be devastating and long-term negative health effects. Despite this knowledge and to maintain its revenue stream from violent construct, the NHL has and does intentionally subject plaintiffs and the class to head trauma."

The league has also allegedly failed to inform players about the scientific research on the negative health effects of head trauma and from 1997 to 2011, the league failed to disclose the results of its concussion study to players and others.

The players' claims have not been proven in court and the NHL has not yet filed a statement of defence in the case.

Dan Fritsche (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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