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Former Greyhounds player sues team for mishandled injury, alleged slur

Tucker Tynan Soo Greyhounds Tucker Tynan - OHL Images


Former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds goaltender Tucker Tynan is suing the Ontario Hockey League team for $300,000, alleging club officials mishandled his shoulder injury, insulted him with derogatory slurs (at least one of which was racist), advised him to self-medicate for pain, and pressured him to play through the injury.

In a nine-page statement of claim filed Feb. 6 in Ontario Superior Court in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., the 21-year-old Tynan alleges the Greyhounds engaged in reckless negligence and racial harassment over a period of weeks in the spring of 2022. According to the claim, the team's actions have caused Tynan to suffer physical damages, emotional distress, and a loss of enjoyment for life.

“...Can only do my best and try to hold them accountable,” Tynan wrote to TSN in a text message on Tuesday. “Some things are out of my hands.”

Tynan declined to say how many times Greyhounds staff allegedly used racist slurs against him.

“I'd rather not answer that, given the situation,” Tynan wrote.

Tynan is now playing for the Port Huron Prowlers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, an independent pro league in the U.S.

Tynan’s allegations have not been tested in court and the Greyhounds have not filed a response.

“The Soo Greyhounds have received the claim from Tucker Tynan,” team president Tim Lukenda said in a statement to TSN Tuesday. “We intend to vigorously defend the organization against the allegations made. Our players' well-being is of utmost importance to us, and we take great pride in the treatment of our players both on and off the ice.”

OHL commissioner David Branch said the league does not plan to commission an independent investigation of the Greyhounds.

“I understand that the Soo Greyhounds, with the full support of the OHL, intends to defend itself against the allegations made by Tynan,” Branch wrote in an email to TSN on Tuesday. “Given the nature of the allegations and the fact that the matter is before the court, the OHL currently has no intention of conducting an investigation.”

Tynan played the 2019-20 season with the Niagara IceDogs before joining the Greyhounds in a December 2021 trade. He alleges he was injured during the first period of an April 1, 2022, game against Saginaw.

Tynan alleges he left the ice immediately after the injury and was met in the team dressing room by Greyhounds athletic therapist Julian Cooper. 

Cooper refused Tynan's request to be taken to hospital, the claim said.

“[Tynan], who suffered an anterior dislocation at the time, in excruciating pain, had no choice but to abide by Cooper's decision,” the claim said. “Cooper, using his hands, proceeded to forcibly and manually manipulate and shift the shoulder back into its socket, causing [Tynan] to suffer horrific pain.”

Tynan alleged the procedure left him in "unbearable pain" and that Cooper provided him with two 200 milligram Advil pills.

Tynan went to the rink the following day and was provided treatment suggested by Cooper, the lawsuit said. Because he was still in so much pain, Tynan asked to see a specialist and have imaging done on his shoulder, but Cooper, according to the lawsuit, said this “would not be possible until his form of treatment was completed.”

On April 4, three days after the injury, Tynan again met with Cooper before team practice and asked to see a doctor who specialized in shoulder injuries and to have medical imaging done and Cooper again refused the request, the lawsuit said.

That same day, Tynan said he met with head coach John Dean and Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis.

After telling Dean and Raftis how much pain he was in, Dean allegedly responded by calling Tynan “derogatory and offensive language,” according to the claim, saying Tynan was “selfish for not wanting to participate in the team practice.”

After Tynan asked to sit out an April 4 game against the Sarnia Sting because of his injury, Dean instead placed him on the active roster for the game, the lawsuit said.

For the following three days, Tynan said he showed up each morning at 8:30 a.m. to receive treatment from Cooper.

“Tynan explained that due to Cooper's treatment plan not being successful, he was self-medicating on roughly 3,000 milligrams of Ibuprofen per day, in order to bear with the devastating and excruciating lingering pain and discomfort,” the claim said, adding that Cooper again refused to send Tynan to a specialist or to have imaging done.

On April 8, Tynan said he met again with Dean and asked that he not be placed on the team's active roster.

“Dean used derogatory and racist remarks against [Tynan],” the claim said. “Dean decided to place the plaintiff on the active roster, and subsequently had [Tynan] enter the game at the 11:17 minute mark in the second period, in relief of the other goaltender on the roster.”

After the game, Tynan's request to meet with Dean and Raftis to discuss his injury was rejected, the claim said.

On April 9, after Tynan once again asked to be taken off the active roster, Dean told Tynan that “would be a selfish act” that would require the team to find another goalie close to the start of the playoffs, the claim said.

"Dean decided to put the plaintiff in action for the full 60-minute match," the lawsuit said.

Four days later, during an April 13 meeting, Dean suggested Tynan “could be faking or exaggerating the injury to get out of playing,” the claim said, adding that after Dean told Tynan he would look into the possibility of medical imaging and a consultation with a shoulder specialist, the Greyhounds placed Tynan on the active roster and required that he dress that night for a game against Sudbury.

Two days later, on April 15, Tynan asked Cooper for a prescription because his pain was “unbearable,” the lawsuit said.

“Cooper told [Tynan] that he would not be able to prescribe anything and suggested that he continue taking whatever dosage of ibuprofen was necessary,” the claim said. “Cooper also mentioned that as the season was nearing an end, he suggested Tynan find a way to ‘power’ through the end of the season.”

After he returned to his home in Arizona in May, Tynan said he met with Dr. Tony Nguyen and received a shoulder MRI.

“On Sept. 20, 2022, during Tynan's follow up with Dr. Nguyen, it was diagnosed that the MRI had shown a labrum tear, along with ligament tears,” the lawsuit said. “It was confirmed with Dr. Nguyen that this would require surgery.”

Tynan had surgery on Feb. 9, 2023, followed by four months of physical therapy, his lawsuit said.

Tynan also suffered a serious injury while playing for the IceDogs when his leg was cut badly by a skate blade during a game against the London Knights in December of 2019. Tynan was treated on the ice by trainers from both teams and paramedics before being taken to hospital.

Dean is in his fifth season as the Greyhounds head coach. Hockey Canada named him to coach one of two national teams that participated at the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown and Summerside, PEI, in November.