Facebook

Former WHL team captain sues Canadian hockey leagues over head trauma

James McEwan filed a lawsuit claiming teams were not informed about the risks of brain injury

A former Kelowna Rockets captain is suing the Canadian Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Hockey Canada, saying the leagues didn’t do enough to inform players about the repercussions from brain injuries.

James McEwan, 31, has been involved in more than 200 fights in his hockey career, spanning from 2004 to 2014. At 19, he became assistant captain for the Kelowna Rockets for the 2006/2007 season.

“McEwan was involved in 25 fights throughout the season and was glorified on numerous social media outlets as holding the best fight with the most punches landed,” according to court documents. The former enforcer claims the results of the fights during that season resulted in a lasting head trauma that began to affect his life.

“He was beginning to experience severe anxiety, mood swings, personality changes and angry outbursts,” the documents said.

RELATED: Rockets suffer close loss to Everett

At 20, and then team captain for The Rockets for the 2007/2008 season, McEwan claims the results of 11 fights lead to a head trauma and concussion, after which be began experiencing “severe depression, anxiety, mood swings, memory loss, confusion, angry outbursts and suicidal thoughts.”

The documents said McEwan would not have been involved in the fights if he was aware of the long-term health implications of concussions and impacts to the head.

McEwan said fighting was not only condoned but tolerated and encouraged in the CHL.

He claims his injuries were caused by negligence of the hockey leagues as they failed to warn teams about the long-term medical risks associated with head trauma, failed to follow or launch a concussion awareness campaign, and failed to enforce any sufficient concussion protocol.

McEwan is seeking an amount equal to the past cost of related health care services as well as the future costs of services.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Kelowna Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton said he would not be commenting on the lawsuit as it’s before the courts. Messages have also been left for McEwan for comment. Calls and emails have been made to the CHL, WHL and Hockey Canada for comment.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Most Read