Three months after the NFL settled its own suit for $765 million, 10 retired hockey players have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NHL. They claim the league didn't do enough to protect them from brain trauma. This is most likely only the beginning.
The full complaint is below.
The 10 players are Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Gary Leeman, Bob Manno, Blair Stewart, Morris Titanic, and Rick Vaive, who's probably the biggest name of the 10. In addition to unspecified damages, they want medical care and monitoring of their injuries, which they claim are the results of playing hockey.
The suit alleges the NHL knowingly concealed the risks of brain trauma, but without seeing the plaintiffs' evidence, hockey is absolutely not football. The NFL left a decades-long paper trail of bad science and cover-ups that likely forced the league into a settlement. The NHL's argument will be that it has generally been ahead of the curve with player safety, and any pre-concussion-era lapses were not purposeful or malicious.
When the idea of a suit was mooted in September, commissioner Gary Bettman had this to say:
"Whether we were the first sports league to have a working concussion study group with the players, our doctors and trainers, or the fact that we were the first sports league to have baseline testing, or the first sports league to have protocols for diagnosis and return-to-play decisions, or the rule changes we've done, or softening the environment, the boards and glass, or having the department of player safety, these are all things that we do on an ongoing basis. Because we want the game as safe as possible."
But this suit was inevitable, promises to gain more plaintiffs, and has almost no chance of being resolved any time soon. Strap in.