Is the NHL liable for concussions suffered by players who never skated a day in the league? A pair of former top prospects believe it is, and they've filed a lawsuit seeking more than $5 million in damages despite having spent their entire careers in the minors.
Sasha Pokuluk, a first-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2005, and Simon Danis-Pepin, a 2006 second-round choice of the Chicago Blackhawks, filed suit on Sept. 17 in Minnesota. It's the sixth head injury-based suit filed against the NHL to date.
Though both acknowledged suffering injuries in the minors, the men claim they suffered numerous concussions during their various attempts to make the NHL. "Training camps are often the most intense experiences, both mentally and physically, for a player because they determine whether a player will have a place in the NHL," according to a copy of the suit obtained by La Presse. "Players are subject to drills that involve blows to the head as they try to separate the men from the boys."
The suit went on to state that concussions are not exclusive to game events and that head injuries often occur in practice. As in the other suits, Pokuluk and Danis-Pepin claim that the NHL knew about the dangers of head injuries but did nothing to protect them.