Report: Edmonton Oilers suing insurance companies over unreimbursed pandemic losses

Gates are closed at the entrance of Rogers Place after the cancellation of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton on Wednesday, December 29, 2021. (Jason Franson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Edmonton Oilers are suing four of their insurance companies over unreimbursed losses suffered during the pandemic, according to a report by CBC News on Friday.

The team filed the lawsuit on March 16, stating the COVID-19 virus altered the interior air, surfaces and interior of Rogers Place, "making them unfit for their intended use," according to the CBC News report.

As has been the case when other NHL teams have filed similar suits, the insurers have responded to the plaintiffs that "viruses do not cause physical loss or damage."

In the early days of the pandemic, the NHL shut down its season on March 12, 2020. Government restrictions followed to varying degrees that limited or prohibited fan attendance in Alberta over the next two years.

The revelation of the filing comes with recent word by the Oilers' province-mates, the Calgary Flames, filed a similar suit on March 10.

According to the statement of claim cited by CBC News, the Oilers' arena corporation, which leases Rogers Place from the city of Edmonton, is claiming a loss of more than $15.3 million. In addition, the Oilers are claiming a loss of $85.2 million and the Oil Kings $4.7 million, both over two years.

Another $36.3 million is being claimed as a loss by the Oilers Entertainment Group, the operators of Rogers Place and the entity responsible for raffles and gaming claims.

As was reported in January by TSN, in June 20 NHL teams, including five Canadian clubs — Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks — sued their insurance providers for more than $1 billion in losses related to the pandemic.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and statements of defence have yet to be filed.

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