A beer league hockey player from Ottawa, Ontario was been awarded a $700,000 judgement from the opposing player who allegedly hit him from behind into the boards, Ontario provincial court has ruled.
The case arose in March 2012, when Gordon MacIsaac body-checked Drew Casterton behind the net during the last minute of their recreational league game in Ottawa. Casterton hit his head on the ice.
MacIsaac said the collision was accidental after Casterton made a sudden turn. Casterton, 36, argued he was blindsided, and that he suffered life-altering injuries as a result.
The key issue was whether MacIsaac was liable for the injuries, and whether Casterton himself had done anything to contribute to his misfortune.
The case highlights just how Canadian courts are changing their approach to rec league sports and in particular to beer league hockey.
“This is not the first lawsuit in Canada for injuries sustained during a hockey game,” Justice Sally Gomery wrote in her decision.
“Courts have moved from requiring evidence of intent to harm to applying the general rules of negligence, adapting them to the context of a sport where some risk of injury is inevitable.”
Ultimately Gomery decided that MacIsaac, a defenceman, had deliberately skated out of position at high speed to lay a blindside hit on Casterton. The judge ruled that MacIsaac would be liable for Casterton’s injuries for failing to meet the standard of care applicable to a hockey player in the circumstances.
“Every player who testified stated that a blindside hit to the face is, and was, outside the bounds of fair play,” Gomery said. “They have no place in recreational play, or in any hockey game.”
In all, Gomery awarded Casterton $702,551 for general damages and past and future loss of income.
Information and quotes for this article were taken from the CBC report below: