An Ontario court has ruled in a case that may have a profound effect on Canada’s national pastime–hockey–and those who keep on playing it in so-called “beer leagues.”
The court ruled that a recreational league hockey player who suffered a head injury in a recreational league game almost eight years ago should receive more than $700,000 from the player with whom he collided.
The collision took place when Gordon MacIsaac body-checked Drew Casterton behind the goal during their so-called “beer league” game in Ottawa in the now-defunct Ontario Senior Men’s Hockey League
Casterton’s head hit the ice.
MacIsaac said the collision was accidental because Casterton had made a sudden turn.
Casterton said 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 had done anything to cause the hit.
On Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Sally Gomery found MacIsaac liable for Casterton’s injuries.
“A person injured during a hockey game does not need to prove either an intent to injure or reckless disregard,” Gomery said.
“The injured player must simply show that the injury was caused by conduct that fell outside of what a reasonable competitor would expect in the circumstances.”
The hit, Gomery concluded, was either deliberate or reckless, but that really didn’t matter.
MacIsaac, she ruled, would be liable for Casterton’s injuries for failing to meet the standard of care applicable to a hockey player in the circumstances.
Moreover, Gomery concluded that Casterton did nothing wrong or negligent.
With files from CP (Colin Perkel), CBC (Laura Glowacki)