Lawsuit Alleges NHL, Other Leagues Of Exploiting Players

Lawsuit Alleges NHL, Other Leagues Of Exploiting Players

A proposed class-action lawsuit accuses the NHL and other major hockey leagues across Canada and the United States as part of an unlawful arrangement that limits young players’ opportunities in the industry.

The lawsuit was filed by one Kobe Mohr, a 21-year-old hockey player from Lloydminster, Alberta. Mohr previously played for four teams in the Western Hockey League from 2015 to 2020.

The claim, which has yet to be certified, requires Mohr to represent thousands of other players over the past 10 years and target major hockey leagues, such as the following: the National Hockey League (NHL); the American Hockey League (AHL); the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL), all under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL); and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).

Mohr and the others claim that there’s a “system of hockey leagues” in Canada and the U.S. where a number of young players won’t be allowed to reach well-paid top professional leagues, regardless of their skills and achievements. Rather, these players are allegedly forced to spend numerous years playing for small sums of money.

Mohr is represented by lawyer Felix-Antoine Michaud, whose Quebec-based firm officially filed the class action lawsuit. In a recent interview, Michaud detailed the alleged system:

“This practice creates a system that imprisons young hockey players between 16 and 20…The player in Canada doesn’t have the same rights as a European player. A Canadian player doesn’t have the possibility to play in the American and East Coast leagues at 18 or 19 years old. A European player has the possibility to play in these leagues at 18 and 19. This arrangement is not legal under the competition act.”

It’s worth noting that the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL operate under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League, which already settled other class action lawsuits in May 2020. The recent lawsuit asked the CHL and other hockey organizations to offer financial compensation to CHL players.

None of the allegations have been proven in court yet. Mohr and Michaud still need to wait for the lawsuit to be certified by the courts and become a class-action. The NHL, CHL, and other major hockey leagues have yet to release a statement regarding the accusation.