The U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson released a large 46-page document that denied the player’s bid for their lawsuit against the league to be classified as class-action. This comes as a major win for the league and its executives who are the defendants in this case. Had the judge granted the player’s request, it could’ve allowed over 5,000 former players to join the case.
According to TSN, this is massive news for a legal battle that has gone on for almost five years, starting in November 2013 when 10 players including Rick Vaive and Gary Leeman filed a lawsuit against the league. They claim the league knew the long-term effects of suffering multiple concussions and withheld that information from the players. This came two years after the infamous summer of 2011 when three former enforces passed away. Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Derek Boogaard who had all reportedly suffered forms of depression and pain to differing degrees. Boogaard's death was an accidental overdose due to the mixture of alcohol and narcotics. Rypien passed away due to suicide and many speculate that was the cause of Belak’s death due to his battle with depression.
Recently, there was a highly publicized series on TSN called NHL Under Oath that saw Rick Westhead dissect depositions from NHL executives. It was released to “report details of the sworn testimony of team owners, league officials, team trainers, and doctors and medical consultants to the NHL and NHLPA, as well as former players in connection with the NHL concussion lawsuit.” They were revealed daily for a week and he went over depositions of famous people in the NHL community like; Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello, Bill Daly, Glen Sather, and more.
Since it’s inception, the lawsuit has grown from 10 to over 100 former NHL players. Many people can draw parallels with the NFL lawsuit that saw a $1 billion settlement get paid to the plaintiffs. This provides optimism for the NHL’s lawsuit as these players look to hopefully help future former players not have to go through the pain and struggle that come with concussions and their impact on the brain. Since the lawsuit began, more deaths occurred, and more players have spoken out about mental health issues and addiction troubles they have and continue to face due to repeated head trauma.