Category Archives: NHL

Wideman’s 10-Game Suspension Stands Despite NHL’s Insistence that Arbitrator Overstepped his Bounds

A New York federal judge recently confirmed the decision of James Oldham, an arbitrator, to reduce Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman’s suspension for hitting a referee. As background, in January, 2016 Wideman was hit by another player while on the ice, which caused him to suffer a concussion. As he was skating to his bench, Wideman — looking dazed and confused — collided with a referee, Henderson. Henderson hit the ground and suffered from a concussion. The commissioner suspended Wideman for the minimum amount…

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Researchers Attempt to Block NHL’s Attempt to Discredit Head Trauma Research

On March 1, 2017, Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University CTE researcher, filed an affidavit with the Minnesota federal courts that she fears the NHL is seeking research materials to discredit the center’s research on the brain disease CTE. Dr. McKee’s affidavit comes on the heels of the NHL’s motion to compel the center to produce their materials related to their research on the degenerative brain disease. The center’s research will be used by NHL players in a proposed class action lawsuit against the NHL…

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NHL’s Subpoena Requests Regarding CTE: Valid Production Request or Invasion of Privacy?

Beginning in September, 2015 the National Hockey League issued subpoenas to two doctors at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center (Boston CTE) in order to compel production of the center’s research related to the league’s concussion litigation. In October 2017, the NHL issued another subpoena, seeking information regarding Lazarus Zeidel — who was added as a named plaintiff in the concussion lawsuit against the league after being diagnosed with CTE in a post-mortem analysis of his brain. While the league argued that the request…

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NHL Wants to Keep Wrongful Death Suit in the Federal Courts

On January 20, 2017, the NHL opposed sending the wrongful death suit of deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard back to state court. The lawsuit began in 2013, and was initially filed in Cook County, Illinois, but was removed by the NHL to the federal courts shortly after. Boogaard’s family alleges he developed a painkiller addiction and permanent brain damage from injuries sustained as an “enforcer” for the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. Boogaard died of a painkiller overdose in 2011, and was prescribed…

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Former NHL Players Bringing Concussion Suit Ask Court to Unseal Concussion Class Certification Docs

Several former NHL players brought a concussion suit against the National Hockey League in 2013 based on allegations that they have all experienced long-term neurological issues as a direct result of concussions sustained while playing for the league; a suit precipitated by a settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players over similar allegations. The players claim the league neglected to provide adequate protection and information re concussion dangers and the possible repercussions. One of the players’ experts opined that the average NHL player…

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Family of Derek Boogaard Asks Federal Judge to Remove Tort Claims to State Court

The parents of former NHL player Derek “Boogeyman” Boogaard are asking a Federal District Court judge to remove their wrongful death claims — against the NHL — to state court. Their request comes on the heels of a ruling striking all claims involving federal law, and, Boogaard’s parents opine, the only allegations left to decide involve state tort law claims. Filed in 2013, the suit focused on the NHL’s failure to protect Boogaard and permitted him to return to action without completing recovery for his…

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NHL Seeks To Have Wrongful Death Claims Checked

On November 4, 2016, the NHL sought to have Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois reconsider the court’s previous decision to allow relatives of deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard to file wrongful death claims against the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL argued the claims fell under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and should be preempted. Judge Feinerman had previously agreed with the player’s family, which alleged the NHL promoted violence and implied head trauma was not dangerous and did not…

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Dispute Over NHL Player’s 20-Game Suspension Continues

The dispute over defenseman Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for knocking a referee to the ice after being body slammed into the boards has created many questions in the NHL. Initially, there was an issue over whether players should be liable for conduct that occurs immediately after a head injury. The NHL seemingly thought this issue was resolved when the NHL Commissioner enforced the 20-game suspension against Wideman; however, that was not the end. The NHL Players’ Association and Wideman appealed the suspension to a neutral…

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Well-Known Litigation Attorney Joins NHLPA Amid Pending Concussion and Player Discipline Litigation

In an NHLPA press release on July 29, 2016 the Player’s Union announced that longtime complex commercial litigation attorney Bruce S. Meyer is their new senior director of collective bargaining. The move will take place in mid-August and he is expected to get to work on the policy and legal aspects of the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations. Meyer, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University School of Law is considered an expert in International Sports Law and Business. As a partner at…

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NHL Commissioner Bettman Argues There’s No Evidence Supporting Link Between Hockey and Brain Trauma

On July 25, 2016, a letter by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was filed in the multi-district litigation over concussions in hockey dismissing the link between hockey related head injuries and long-term brain conditions. In this letter, he reiterated a similar infamous stance previously made by the NFL that there is no definitive connection between the two and their league has done everything in their power to keep its players safe. Recently, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), a ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection…

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