The National Hockey League is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against a large group of former players who claim the league was negligent in the way it addressed the issue of head injuries.
According to a report from TSN's Rick Westhead a U.S. federal court in Minneapolis Minnesota has just revealed a damning series of emails between top ranking NHL executives including commissioner Gary Bettman himself as well as deputy commissioner Bil Daly. In the communication Daly details his belief that there is a direct link between concussions, dipression and what he called "personal tragedies".
“I tend to think its a little bit of both. Fighting raises the incidence of head injuries/concussions, which raises the incidence of depression onset, which raises the incidence of personal tragedies."
The NHL, and specifically commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly denied the link between concussions and long term brain injuries, these comments from Daly would appear to suggest a different point of view internally. How much this will damage the NHL's case is impossible to tell at this time, but that wasn't the only gem found in the e-mails.
Former NHL executive and current Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan was also involved in the correspondence, and in his own words describe the use of pills among current NHL players, as well as the drug use among former players.
“This is not the same role as it was in the 80’s and 90’s,” Shanahan wrote. “Fighters used to aspire to become regular players. Train and practice to move from 4th line to 3rd. Now they train and practice becoming more fearsome fighters. They used to take alcohol or cocaine to cope. (Kordic) Now they take pills. Pills to sleep. Pills to wake up. Pills to ease the pain. Pills to amp up. Getting them online.
A rough day for the NHL, and this case is far from over.