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.

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

Just Posted

West Kootenay SAR crews rescue injured mountain biker near Rossland

Crews were called in to help after the biker seriously injured himself at around noon Saturday

Suspected fentanyl and cocaine seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Castlegar and Creston skate parks opening May 27

The RDCK is asking skateboarders to take physical distancing protocols to combat spread of COVID-19

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read