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

Sidney’s Cascadia Seaweed hopes to float to the top of a growing industry

Food products based on seaweed could hit local shelves in spring 2021

Deadline looms to take Esquimalt’s waste stream survey

Township wants residents, business owners’ thoughts on integrated resource management

New Oak Bay officer on the traffic beat

Const. Jeff Savoy a ‘top traffic enforcement officer’

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read