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.”
Trudeau is a fan of the game and the Montreal Canadiens. His predecessor, Stephen Harper, was also an avid fan who occasionally weighed in on hockey issues.
— With files from The Associated Press