Rec player ordered to pay $700k in damages after on-ice collision

Discussion in 'The Rink' started by Yukon Joe, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Yukon Joe Registered User

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    Because I'm a lawyer I'm going to link you right to the Canlii decision itself:

    2020 CanLII 1088 (ON SC) | CanLII

    Itr's perhaps worth noting that MacIsaac was assessed 17 minutes in penalties, and was charged with assault (convicted, overturned on appeal, then ultimately stayed).

    Be careful out there people.
     
  2. Filthy Dangles .

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    "Can you imagine a world without lawyers..."

    I breifly read the opening part of the document, I don't have the time to read it all right now but I don't get it. It seems like it was an honest accidental collision, even if it was a dirty hit, I still don't see how you're entitled to such damages.

    There's inherent risk playing hockey and don't most leagues/insurance providers make you sign some kind of waiver?
     
  3. PK Cronin Bailey Fan Club Prez

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    I'd guess that waiver is for the league/rink protection, not the players.
     
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  4. Filthy Dangles .

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    True
     
  5. Yukon Joe Registered User

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    You accept the risks inherent in hockey. If a puck gets deflected and you take it in the jaw and lose some teeth, that's an inherent risk in hockey. But if someone goes out to deliberately injure another player, that's not an inherent risk and you can be held liable.

    The trial judge found that MacIsaac made deliberate collision with the other player in an adult, no-contact league. The ref thought that it was a deliberate hit as well - assessing 17 minutes in penalties, for what it is worth.
     
  6. beakerboy Registered User

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    So he Tkachucked him... "Casterton, who had been skating behind Masubara, took control of the puck. He carried it along the boards to the top-right corner of the rink, then followed the boards behind the Pirates’ net.[1] He and MacIsaac collided as he emerged just to the left of, and slightly behind, the Pirates’ net."

    The implied consent for taking part in hockey is things that are within the expected conduct of the game. This was supposedly a non-contact league. Interesting to note that the judge says that body checking should be expected even in a non-contact league, because there is a penalty in the rulebooks for it. By that logic, blindside hits and other shenanigans should be expected in the NHL because there are guidelines for them? Seems kind of a weird interpretation. Regardless, in this case, the judge said that the hit was well outside of the bounds of expected conduct which is the critical part.

    The judges description of the hit:
    I conclude that MacIsaac intentionally skated at high speed towards Casterton from an angle where his approach could not be seen. He positioned his arms and drew up his body in such a way as to maximize bodily contact, causing a collision between MacIsaac’s shoulder and forearms and the lower half of Casterton’s face. Casterton did not anticipate the check and, as such, made no moves to protect himself or attempt to avoid the collision. Each player admitted that, if Casterton’s theory of how the collision occurred were accepted, this was a blindside hit.

    There are other places in the judgment where it states that MacIsaac leapt into the hit as well.

    Casterton had a concussion, two broken teeth, and various facial cuts as a result of his collision with MacIsaac. Arguments about how much post-concussion symptoms he has (self-reported to doctors).

    General damages of $100k. From reading, it looks like this is basically compensation for pain and suffering.
    $199,512 for past lost income (over the 7 years since the incident).
    $440,039 for future lost income (to age 65).
    No punitive damages.

    In this case, the judge ruled that it was a blindside hit to the face and was particularly egregious. The ref said that he had never seen "such an act of violence", with over 600 games of reffing experience, as well as time as a semi-pro player.
     
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  7. Slats432 Registered User

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    Unless I saw video, I can't comment on the hit, but based on what has been said, the referee indicated and other evidence provided that MacIssac did it on purpose. Moral of the story, don't be a jerk in Men's League.
     
  8. tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    The fact that MacIsaac was charged and twice convicted of criminal assault suggests that this isn't just about lawyers doing lawyer things. First the police judged that his actions warranted criminal charges, then two different judges agreed. That's pretty damning, even if both convictions were thrown out on appeal and finally the case died on statute of limitations (which sounds like the most lawyerly part of this).

    The general consensus among witnesses seems to be that in the final minute of a 2-goal game, MacIssac stalked Casterton as Casterton rounded behind the net and passed the puck. After the puck was gone, Casterton came around the corner of the net and MacIssac hit him directly in the head from the blind side. Given that we're talking about a high-level league with a bunch of former junior/university players, and that it's a non-checking league where collisions are to be actively avoided, it's hard to reconstruct that scenario in a way where MacIssac wasn't throwing a deliberate headshot.

    The entitlement to damages comes primarily from an actuarial estimate, based on the downturn of Casterton's personal business after he was injured. There were no punitive damages awarded.

    To me, in the context of a non-checking, amateur game there really is something criminal about stalking an opponent for a headshot. I've done my fair share of giving guys "the business" and engaging in the odd altercation, which is part of even the lowest-level beer league hockey every once in a while, but deliberately throwing a blindside body check is a completely different level of maliciousness... even the guys who play a little rougher aren't signing up to get targeted for injury. MacIssac's pretty lucky he didn't end up with a record after this, and was left with "only" needing to pay restitution for Casterton's financial damages.
     
  9. jayarebee Registered User

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    Very difficult to truly rule fairly without video evidence. Can quickly turn into "hear say" and one's word versus another... even with witnesses.

    One of the many reasons I don't play in adult leagues anymore, I know the risk, I'm getting older, and I would like to wake up in the morning to go to work without missing teeth or bruises on my arms from morons slashing me.


    I Officiated a game a few months back (Adult C), this rink/league has the most babies ever. Players think that because they pay say $700 for a 14 game season that it entitles them to act like NHL players and get NHL-like services (come Officiating).

    The story, younger quicker guys were getting hacked and wacked by the older guys. Come the middle of the 3rd period a player accidentally bumped the opponent's goalie, of course one of the younger guys defending snapped and just launched at his opponent, gloves off, while the poor guy he tackled was on his back trying to protect himself. I immediately skated in and as safely as possible stopped a 3rd guy from getting involved and eventually got the player off of the other while about 7 other grown men stand around not helping at all.. my partner wasn't really up for the extra work but he got the #'s of 3-4 players and tossed 2, 1 from each team.. and we penalized each team. I personally would not have thrown the one guy out who got tackled via my discretion, but he did in fact throw a "punch" at the other guy, self-defense to me but the USA Hockey Rulebook Rule 615 Fighting defines any "punching motion" as "fighting"....

    After the game one player who was probably about 55 years old comes up and tells my partner and I we did a horrible job breaking up the fight and that it is OUR JOB to stop fights. We told him it's not our job to endanger ourselves breaking up a fight in a men's league game, in fact it's not even in the rulebook (unless I missed it). Maybe Hockey Canada is different... but I imagine it's the same. The USA Hockey rulebook is basically written for Children, or 18u... it's not an NHL rulebook, and what it says for rule 615 Fighting goes for ALL age groups from 8u to Adults.

    This guy wouldn't give up, he wanted to know the rule and why we didn't break the fight up, I asked him if he was even watching because I did step in as safely as possible and they stopped. But we also told him that neither of us are going to step into a punch getting thrown and risk getting cracked in the face or worse when it is not our duty. He said he was going to contact the rink manager about the rules, we said good luck. Then we told him he's LUCKY that the rink manager did not call the police. He looked astonished and said something like "What do the police have to do with ice hockey?" and we told him well just because you step on the ice it doesn't mean the State & Government Laws become void. If you assault someone, whether you throw a punch, swing a stick at someone, and whether you just bruise them or leave the seriously injured it's still BREAKING THE LAW.

    He gave up arguing after that, we also reminded him that they aren't a bunch of 14u players and should no better. When scrums/fights breakout in youth games it's rather easy for 2 grown men Officiating to step in and break up even the worst of the kids. There have been times where I've seen Officials have to stop one coach from attacking another, once again not really the Officials job. Sure we can break the fights up, I don't mind taking that risk if necessary.. but there's noway to "prevent" a fight if someone is just a complete knucklehead.. Like mentioned above, should we use "The Force" and magically stop a guy mid-tackle or punch, should we step right in the middle and have 2 guys wailing away at us and most likely get caught with one or two shots to the head? No, sorry... we don't get paid for that.

    I hate to say it, but more rinks are getting cameras, livebarnes, and all that, not that anyone would check it for an adult league game, but hey it's evidence. If you want to fight like an animal each time you step on the ice you are playing the wrong sport.. join an MMA gym. The rink owners would probably call the police every time there is a fight that involves grown men throwing hay-makers at each other or even if one attacks the other... which they should 100%.. but Hockey is a sport where we like to keep everything that's supposed to be "on the ice" literally "on the ice"... Owners also don't want to get bad reputations, give the sport a bad name, or involve any outside law enforcement unless absolutely required. Heck who knows, maybe if more rink managers would call the police when there are adult fights on ice it would deter them from doing it... who knows.

    This is why I don't play much anymore, I'm 35 and I'm too old for the nonsense. I just want to play, and sadly I can't handle the 10-11 man iron-man style games at 1030pm, get home around 12:30-1am, barely sleep 5 hours and get up for work. Mainly though because 1 out of 5 games or so always has some knucklehead who has to ruin the game at some point.
     
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  10. tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    I've seen plenty of beer league fights. I've NEVER seen anyone claim that it's the ref's job to jump in there and break up a beer league fight. That's crazy talk, embarrassing for the guy who said it.

    Some guys don't seem to understand that beer league is just rec hockey. Fighting in beer league is like fighting in a YMCA basketball game or a company softball game. Competitive juices get flowing, cheap shots happen, sometimes it escalates. But the fighter has to accept the consequences of that situation, because when you show up to a recreational game you are held to a recreational standard of behavior. Cross that line and you're not protected by a "but it's hockey!" defense.

    The idea that the ref is obligated to jump in there and dodge punches... lol. Good luck to that guy convincing a house league that the refs need to do any such thing.
     
  11. jayarebee Registered User

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    Exactly!

    Heck, I wish I could still play like I used to but I can't.. I've just gotten older, injuries have taken their toll. I love coaching & officiating.. I rarely play but when I do the last thing on my mind is getting into a fight. Sadly nowadays it's probably the first thing on my mind when I go to play.. because so many games have turned out ugly and a waste of time.

    I like Officiating 14u and the occasional Adult league games. Some rinks have better leagues, some have incredibly fun leagues that just run clocks. Game I did the other night was just an 80 min running clock, don't even think I called any penalties because the players were all so friendly, a couple guys joked around and it was just evident they meant no harm or had any intentions to injure anyone... they had a blast, I had a blast, and at the end of the game most of them thanked me for letting them "play"... as supposedly they get quite a few Officials who will call just about anything and everything, which is lame with a running clock.. the guys just want to play in those types of leagues/games.. I'll give them every second they can. They actually told me to slow it down a few times which was fine with me lol.

    I've noticed a great deal has to do with the rinks themselves, if they let these goon squad "teams" join and do their thing for a season or two it ruins the league, it happened to the first league I joined. Rink took a team barred from several other rinks/leagues and for obvious reasons as they got into a fight the first game they had in their new league. You have to be a bunch of boneheads to get tossed from an Adult Rec League because these rinks love to take that $$$... But even if not, always another rink that will.. and trouble follows.
     
  12. Yukon Joe Registered User

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    Cripes I'm 10 years older than you, play with guys who are up to 10-20 years older than me, and we're not too old for this nonsense yet.

    The 10:30 mid-week ice times are a pain, but thankfully haven't seen much of an issue with knuckleheads. I think that would grow old really fast.
     
  13. RandV It's a wolf v2.0

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    Yes it's not like we have the video but when the guy is facing criminal charges and civil lawsuits of course he's going to stick to the story that it was an "accidental collision". I'd say the weight of the judgment that went against him is enough to call it what it is here, and I say good. While of course you assume some risks when you play the game stuff that can happen in the pro's where you say 'that's hockey!' shouldn't be applied the same way to rec league play.
     
  14. shoeshine boy Registered User

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    this is why I would like to see more leagues become independent of the rinks. as long as they're getting their money, leagues run by rinks have no motivation to clean up their leagues. the more people they toss out or "dis-invite" as my league calls it, the more money they don't have.
    I am on the board of the independent league here in ATL (1500 players playing out of 3 different rinks) and we routinely use rink cameras to look for evidence in player disciplinary hearings. we're not afraid to ban players for life if they can't control themselves.
     
  15. tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    I just discovered livebarn.com, which is a total game-changer for rink video. There's no need to even go through rink management, you can just stream it on demand. That makes it MUCH easier for a league manager (or even an individual player) to insist on accountability.

    I would agree that rinks have near-zero motivation to get rid of bad actors. Their profit motive outweighs all but the most extreme misbehavior.
     
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  16. Toonces The beer kitty

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    Every league has a lunatic or two in it, you have to always be careful. It's beer league, and everybody has to get up the next day and live their lives.

    Sounds like the punishment was warranted.
     
  17. Rebels57 HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

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    It sounds like an intentional violent dirty blindside hit in a non-contact mens league.

    Personally I wish the penalty was MORE than $700K and I wish he did jail time as well.

    Sounds like he is a real piece of shit.
     
  18. HHHH Registered User

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  19. Frank Drebin Registered Bootlicker

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    More and more leagues have cameras recording the games. Its great to be able to watch your high/lowlights but its also very useful for stuff like this.
     

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