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.

Just Posted

Tribal Journeys welcomed by Stz’uminus at Shell Beach

Paddlers came from various nations, including the Heiltsuk, Namgis, Hesquiaht, and Alberta Cree

Brits on the Beach raises $2,251 for LRCA food bank

Brits on the Beach also brought in 75 pounds of non-perishable food items

Town adds public access lifering to improve water safety at Transfer Beach

The lifering is easy to use and includes instructions on the protective housing case for emergencies

Chemainus Harvest House still demands attention in summer

Food bank supplies dwindle with diminished donations

No shortage of water supply in Ladysmith despite stage three water restrictions

Water restrictions remain in place to service community in case of an emergency

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read