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NHL Fathers Support Sen. Blumenthal’s Inquiry of NHL Commissioner

06.24.2016

The fathers of Derek Boogaard and Steve Montador, two former NHL players diagnosed with CTE upon their untimely deaths at ages 27 and 35, respectively, commend and support Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for his call to action directed at NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Sen. Blumenthal officially called out Gary Bettman’s refusal to acknowledge that CTE is a risk associated with NHL hockey.

Paul Montador, the father of NHL player Steve Montador, who died in 2015 after suffering 15 documented concussions and thousands of other hits to his head during a long hockey career, states:

“Today, Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut has pointedly addressed the critical challenges facing the NHL and will hold NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s feet to the fire for his organization’s dangerous and irresponsible position on brain injuries.  Commissioner Bettman perpetually dances around this issue of CTE.   It’s a shame that former players, like my son, Steven, spent their professional hockey careers putting their lives at risk while Commissioner Bettman repeatedly denied and delayed addressing the real risk of repeated head injuries in hockey.  Senator Blumenthal’s commendable action will, hopefully, save and protect the brains of today’s hockey players and tomorrow’s.”

The father of NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard, who participated in at least 66 in-game fights, and who died in 2011 after a battle with addiction to painkillers, states:

“For too long, the problem of concussions in hockey and the National Hockey League’s denials regarding the risks have gone unaddressed.  Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut did an enormous service to this generation of hockey players and the next, by raising the issue in his letter to Commissioner Gary Bettman. We have tried to get Commissioner Bettman to discuss the safety of his game and the impact it has on the long-term health of its players and have been met with only repeated denials regarding the risks.  It is my hope that Senator Blumenthal’s advocacy helps to raise public awareness of this issue and leads to answers to these important questions facing hockey.

Thomas A. Demetrio and William T. Gibbs of Corboy & Demetrio represent the Boogaard and Montador estates in wrongful death litigation against the NHL. In addition, they have been appointed to the executive committee to prosecute MultiDistrict litigation against the NHL on behalf of hundreds of NHL players. Gibbs stated, “Finally, Commissioner Bettman is forced to pointedly address one of the most critical health issues in the history of sport – CTE caused by repetitive head traumas. Mr. Bettman’s repeated refusal to acknowledge the risk of brain damage to NHL players is ridiculous. His League’s continued promotion of violent hits to the head has already resulted in lives lost far too soon. Enough is enough. Commissioner Bettman is long overdue to come clean with the facts – that the NHL has long-known that repeated head injuries during hockey games , can and will cause permanent brain damage.”

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