NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman ordered to testify in concussion lawsuit: Report

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking to media prior to game three NHL playoffs between the Winnipeg Jets' and Anaheim Ducks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking to media prior to game three NHL playoffs between the Winnipeg Jets' and Anaheim Ducks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman has been ordered to testify in a concussion lawsuit by 60 former NHL players according to TSN’s Rick Westhead. 

Per the report:

In an eight-page ruling, Judge Susan Nelson wrote, "The court finds that Commissioner Bettman possesses unique or special knowledge relevant to this lawsuit."

"Commissioner Bettman may be deposed in July 2015, but no earlier," she wrote. "This should cause no hardship to plaintiffs, who will have an opportunity to first depose other witnesses. In addition, both parties will have the benefit of the production of relevant discovery from commissioner Bettman prior to his deposition."

Bettman was asked to testify by the players in February. Per the report the league balked saying that the information the players wanted could be acquired through asking others.

But there’s more according to Westhead. Below is part of a release the lawyers from the players.

Clearly the players don’t think Bettman’s public arguments are airtight. Normally Bettman is very good at saying nothing while speaking – basically being a lawyer in the public realm. The 2011 Pacioretty situation was clearly where Bettman talked himself into trouble. Or at very least given the lawyers from the players some ammo in this case per their release. 

The NHL has tried to dismiss the lawsuit unsuccessfully. And as we have pointed out, there are differences between the National Football League’s lawsuit and the NHL’s. Not all contact sports are created equally, nor are their governing bodies. 

The plaintiffs, which include Bernie Nicholls and Gary Leeman say the league did not do enough to inform them of the dangers of head trauma before or after a 1997 study. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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