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

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

RDCK closes all indoor recreational facilities until at least August 18

The district said closures are necessary to meet financial plan and to deliver safe programming

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

PHOTOS: Nelson joins protests against racism, police brutality

The protest was similar to those being held throughout Canada and the United States

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read