CALGARY – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waded into the hockey concussion debate Tuesday, urging the NHL to look at head injuries “as a very real problem.”
Trudeau was asked for his thoughts on the issue a day after court documents revealed an internal debate by NHL officials over head injuries and a deeper concern about the impact of fighting than what has been publicly shared by league leadership.
The prime minister said he worries about concussions, especially as a father who has watched his son “bravely get out onto the pond ice, usually with a helmet on throughout this past winter…”
“Any active player of sports has to be aware of concussions and I certainly hope that the NHL is thinking both of its responsibility towards its players and to the example of so many young people who look to the NHL as a dream but may not reach it, and understand the severity with which we need to look at concussions as a very real problem,” Trudeau said after a roundtable event in Calgary.
More than 100 former NHL players have joined a class action against the league over its handling of concussions.
Spokesman Frank Brown said Tuesday the league’s stance has not changed from commissioner Gary Bettman’s comments during the all-star game weekend. Bettman said then that the release of the “out of context” documents would be “a distraction at best” and “not impact the merits of the case.”