Steve Montador was just 35 when he died on Feb. 15, 2015. Three months after his death, researchers with the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at Toronto’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre disclosed the former defenseman had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He was posthumously diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2015.
Montador’s family sued the NHL in December 2015, alleging the league has promoted violence and profited off of it while not adequately advising players of the risks of repeated long-term brain injuries.
However on Tuesday, TSN’s Rick Westhead revealed that the NHL alleges in a new court filing that it is not to blame for any of the injuries or health problems suffered by Montador. The league insists it isn’t to blame for Montador’s death.
Any legal claims related to Montador’s injury “may be barred, in whole or in part, from recovery due to his contributory and/or comparative negligence,” the NHL alleged.
“Any injury or damage sustained by [Montador] was caused, in whole or in part, by [Montador’s] own lack of due care and fault, and/or by pre-existing conditions; and/or the lack of due care of others for whom the NHL has no responsibility or control,” the league wrote in its answer to the Montador family’s lawsuit.
The NHL also alleged it should not face liability from being sued for promoting violence because “such conduct is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Montador played 571 games during a 14-year NHL career that included stops with the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks, and his family claims that he suffered at least 11 documented concussions in the NHL, including four in 12 weeks during a stretch in 2012.
But sure, Gary Bettman, it must be all Montador’s fault...Wow.
What a sad turn of events… many fans believe this is a disgusting response for the NHL: