Mom sues Hockey Canada after son allegedly attacked on ice
Annie Turcotte is suing Hockey Canada after her son, Alexis, was allegedly attacked by another player during a game. (RACHEL DEL FANTE/QMI Agency)
A former Peewee defenceman's mother is suing Hockey Canada, Hockey Quebec and a player for $370,000 after an on-ice hit allegedly left the boy unable to play sports or study full time.
Annie Turcotte's lawyer said it's the first lawsuit against hockey's governing bodies on behalf of a player who was allegedly attacked on the ice.
Lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard provided an accident report, with Hockey Canada and Hockey Quebec logos, that states Alexis Turcotte, then 11, suffered face, neck and head injuries during a game on Nov. 27, 2010.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Quebec Superior Court alleges that player Maxime Morin cross-checked Turcotte during a stoppage in play towards the end of a blowout win by Turcotte's squad.
The suit claims Turcotte fell to the ice, got up and Morin struck him in the face with his stick, causing a concussion.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
Turcotte, now 14, told a news conference Wednesday that he doesn't remember anything, but his mother Annie recalled her son was carted off on a stretcher, "crying out in pain."
"He didn't know where he was, what he was doing at all," she said. "He looked at me, but the words didn't come out."
The teen said he missed the rest of his Grade 6 year, and still has trouble with his Grade 8 work.
"I have to put a lot more effort than before because before it was easy but today my head hurts after an hour of studying," he said.
Hockey Canada refused comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit, and Hockey Quebec did not respond to an interview request.
In a 2008 directive, Hockey Canada referred to "deliberate checks to the head" as "a major problem in today's game" that can "end players' careers and can have long term effects. "
But the Turcotte family's lawyer said the player who allegedly attacked his client only received a two-minute penalty.
"Neither Hockey Canada, Hockey Quebec or anyone else saw fit to take supplementary measures," Menard told reporters.
"This ... constitutes, according to us, a tolerance and an encouragement of these practices."
He said it's up to the courts to force governing bodies to apply their own rules.
A Toronto legal expert said minor hockey across Canada could be affected if the Quebec teen wins his case.
"They'll be bound by the Quebec judgment, most likely," said Prof. Allan Hutchinson, associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School.
But he cautioned that even if a judge awards damages, Hockey Canada could appeal.