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NHL defends player safety record

The SportsXchange

A class-action lawsuit filed by 10 former NHL players claims the league was negligent in protecting them from concussions.

Filed in federal court in Washington, the lawsuit is similar in its cause-effect charges to the larger suit settled between NFL players and the league for a sum of $765 million in September.

The NHL suit seeks damages and NHL-funded and monitored medical coverage for brain trauma and injuries players claim in the suit were a result of their hockey careers.

Thousands of former NFL players who cited the development of dementia or other concussion-related health problems were part of the suit.

The new suit includes former All-Star Gary Leeman, who played from 1983-1996 with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes and Bob Manno are among the others named in the suit.

Vaive released a statement that read players were kept "in the dark about the risks of concussions and many of the former NHL players are now suffering from debilitating head injuries from their time in the league. Hopefully this lawsuit will shine a light on the problem and the players will get the help they deserve."

The NHL made contact to the head a penalty in 2010, but the suit challenges why the league did nothing further to protect players, including educating players on the risks related to taking blows to the head.

Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, released a statement Monday.

"We are aware of the class action lawsuit filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of a group of former NHL Players. While the subject matter is very serious, we are completely satisfied with the responsible manner in which the League and the Players' Association have managed Player safety over time, including with respect to head injuries and concussions. We intend to defend the case vigorously and have no further comment at this time."
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