Man wins lawsuit after breaking jaw in a hockey fight 

An injured hockey player is attended to on the ice by the team doctor.
  • Date: February, 2004
  • Victim’s Age: 34
  • Victim’s Sex: Male
  • Occupation: N/A
  • Place: Ontario
  • Circumstances: fight
  • Injuries sustained: broken jaw
  • Compensation: $38,000

Sports Injury Incident

A 34-year-old man was participating in a Gentlemen’s Hockey tournament in February 2004. During one of the games, he and one of his opponents were going for the puck and their sticks deflected off each other and he hit his opponent in the face. His opponent was not wearing any face protection and the hit cut him and he started bleeding. Even though it was an accidental high stick the rules state that it is a penalty. As the ref was about to call the penalty a fight broke out. They started yelling at each other and grabbing each other’s sweaters and then his opponent pulled off his helmet and punched him. He fell to the ice and his face was in a lot of pain.  

The player injuries 

He went to the hospital and the x-ray indicated that his jaw had been broken in three places. His jaw required surgery. They wired his lower jaw to his upper jaw to help it heal. The wires were in place for 7 weeks and he could not eat any solid foods. He also had 3 root canals performed due to tooth damage from the punch. He also suffered a concussion. Over four years after the incident, he still has pain in his jaw and his bite is off.  


Gentlemen’s Hockey is recreational hockey and has a no-contact rule. Fights do happen but they only involve yelling and jostling around and would never escalate to an assault. The man was not expecting to be punched as it was against the league rules and had never happened before. 

The judge ruled that the punch was beyond the accepted conduct in Gentlemen’s hockey. Wrestling, jostling and a few harmless punches over a protective gear were acceptable however removing a player’s helmet and punching him in the face exceeded the voluntary assumption of risk.  


He successfully sued his opponent and won $35,000 in general damages, $2800 for future care costs and $288.32 in special damages. His wife was awarded $3000 under the Family law act for loss of care and companionship. 


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