clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Butch Goring, Ed Westfall, Garry Howatt in Latest NHL Players Concussion Lawsuit

Three former Islanders are listed among a diverse cast of plaintiffs in the latest suit.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders greats and color commentators Butch Goring (Robert Thomas Goring) and Ed Westfall (Vernon Westfall) have joined a class-action lawsuit filed against the NHL by several former players alleging the league has "dragged its feet in protecting players," particularly concussions. Garry Howatt, whose Isles tenure spanned both Westfall and Goring's, is also in the suit.

News of the new suit was reported via The Hockey News, which posted the 124-page complaint filed Feb. 9 in Minnesota District Court. THN reports the players in the new suit, 29 in all, are joining existing concussion-related litigation against the league.

The suit requests a jury trial, though the likely outcome is a settlement with payouts to former players, something that could be well down the line. The NFL -- whose concussion history is arguably more checkered and more plentiful -- settled a similar suit with over 5,000 former players last year, though a judge has requested revisions in that settlement agreement.

The lawsuit by NHL players cites several studies on the dangers of concussions and instances where it says the league allowed concussion-prone activity to continue, including fighting. It even quotes recent broadcast comments by Mike Milbury saying it's time for fighting to end. From page 3, paragraph 5:

Defendant persists in this conduct to date by, among other things, continuing to promote violence and bare-knuckle fist fighting with blows to the head and the loss of a helmet during the skirmish.  Defendant’s acceptance of and profiting from violence stands in stark contrast to the  Olympics and National Collegiate Athletics Association ("NCAA") hockey, where fighting is not promoted and does not take place.

Recently, Mike Milbury, a former 12-year  NHLer and current NHL game analyst for NBC Sports, was asked what he thought about the fact that there were fewer enforcers in the game than before: "It’s telling me it’s time to get rid of fighting. It’s telling me it’s over.  As much as I liked a good scrap in my day, there are too many issues here involving concussions, too many problems. Teams are going away from it. Let’s grow up and get rid of it."

The full list of players spans eras, talent and careers. You'll find bruisers, skilled forwards and even goalies:

  • Greg Adams
  • Rick Berry
  • Richard Brodeur
  • Shawn Chambers
  • Todd Elik
  • Robert Goring
  • Mark Hardy
  • Michael Hartman
  • Todd Harvey
  • Tony Horacek
  • Garry Howatt
  • Dave Hutchinson
  • Jean Francois Jomphe
  • Edward Kennedy
  • Mike Lalor
  • Darren Langdon
  • Emmanuel Legace
  • Jamie Lundmark
  • Sergio Momesso
  • Jeff Parker
  • Stephen Patrick
  • Craig Redmond
  • Terry Ruskowski
  • Brian Savage
  • Jeffrey Shevalier
  • Turner Stevenson
  • German Titov
  • Todd Warriner
  • Vernon Westfall

More, so much more, to come in this saga.