Canadian Hockey League to Face Class Action Lawsuit over Wages

An unparalleled class action lawsuit has been filed against the Canadian Hockey League and its teams, which claims that both “conspired” to force young players into signing contracts that breach minimum wage laws. The lawsuit directly targets the economic foundations of junior hockey in Canada.

According to a statement of claim filed in a Toronto court on Friday, the claimants want $180 million in outstanding wages, vacation, holiday and overtime pay and employer payroll contributions. It has been stressed that thousands of young players were given as low as $35 a week for practices, games, training and travelling that could add up to more than full-time hours. According to the claim, the league and its teams “conspired and agreed together . . . to act in concert to demand or require that all players sign a contract which the defendants knew was unlawful.” Furthermore, it was added that “such conduct was high-handed, outrageous, reckless, wanton, deliberate, callous, disgraceful, wilful and in complete disregard for the rights of the (players).” The allegations are yet to be proved in court.

In response to the news about the claim, CHL President, David Branch, confirmed on Sunday that he hasn’t yet seen a copy of the lawsuit but stressed that league “will vigorously defend the way our teams operate,” adding that “our position is our players are amateur student athletes and we provide the best playing experience to our 1,300 players. . . It’s important that we defend this because it could have a huge impact on all amateur sport in this country.”            

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