Rubber marks from pucks dot the glass as Vancouver Canucks players take part in an optional hockey practice attended by a small number of players in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday June 2, 2011. A proposed $825 million class-action lawsuit alleges some of North America’s most powerful hockey leagues are conspiring to limit opportunities for young players. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Lawsuit alleges NHL, junior leagues working together to limit players’ opportunities

Document claims defendants have created a system where the majority of players will never reach top pro leagues

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges some of North America’s most powerful hockey leagues are conspiring to limit opportunities for young players.

The claim was filed by Kobe Mohr, a 21-year-old Lloydminster, Alta., man who played for four teams in the Western Hockey League from 2015 to 2020.

The NHL, WHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, American Hockey League, ECHL and Hockey Canada are listed as defendants.

The suit alleges the defendants participated in “an unlawful conspiracy, arrangement or agreement” to limit opportunities for Mohr and other Canadians to make a living playing pro hockey between the ages of 18 and 20.

The document claims the defendants have created a system where the overwhelming majority of players will never reach the top pro leagues, instead spending years playing for “nominal sums of money, all to the financial advantage of the defendants.”

None of the allegations has been proven in court and the lawsuit still needs to be certified by the courts to become a class-action. No statements of defence have been filed.

The AHL declined to comment. None of the other organizations mentioned in the lawsuit was able to immediately provide a comment.

The suit points to another structure of hockey in Europe and Russia, where pro clubs can sign young players to pro contracts and assign them to junior or reserve teams.

“Overall, Canadian-based players that are playing in major junior leagues have substantially less choices and freedom, if any, than European-based players, who have the opportunity to play in the AHL or ECHL before reaching the age of 20 and be paid a salary negotiated by a professional association,” the suit states.

The suit alleges the NHL and their teams pay bonuses to major junior clubs when their players are drafted, creating an unlawful arrangement between the defendants.

In May, the Canadian Hockey League settled three class-action lawsuits filed by current and former junior players seeking backpay for minimum wage.

The settlements amounted to a total of $30 million.

The CHL has always considered major junior players — typically ranging from 16 to 20 years old — student athletes.

Players are currently eligible for post-secondary school scholarships, with each season spent in the league being worth one year of tuition, books and compulsory fees. Players also get money for out-of-pocket expenses, equipment, billeting and travel costs while on a CHL roster.

ALSO READ: ‘We want him back’: Canucks trying to re-sign goalie Jacob Markstrom

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

lawsuitNHL

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

Just Posted

Sooke RCMP searching for two people, reported missing on Sept. 10

Alannah Brooke Logan, 20, and Beau Richard Santuccione, 32, last seen on Otter Point Road

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

Victoria man plans 30-hour walk to raise funds for vulnerable youth

Take a Hike engages youth in intensive, clinical counselling and outdoor experiential learning

Opponent of proposed Sidney cannabis store calls on councillors to heed health authority advice

Council to consider revised application from Happy Buddha Cannabis on Sept. 28

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read