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

PHOTOS: Barkerville planning for Halloween events and virtual field trips

This year’s Halloween events will focus on traditional trick or treating, and tickets are limited

Quesnel pickleballers battle for appropriate prizes

Jars of pickles painted gold, silver and bronze were given to the top men’s, women’s and doubles teams

PHOTOS: Quesnel Farmers’ Market gearing up for giant pumpkin weigh-in

This year’s giant pumpkin contest will look different but will take place Oct. 10

BC VOTES 2020: Provincial election will have familiar duo battling in Cariboo North

The two candidates who received the most votes in 2017 will both be running in Cariboo North again

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

151,000 salmon detected this year north of site

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read