Mel Owens, one of the attorneys involved in the class-action lawsuit against the NHL, was recently a guest on Hockey Central at Noon. After an interesting conversation with hosts Doug MacLean, Nick Kypreos and Darren Millard regarding the merits of the lawsuit, the hosts took to discussing the issue among themselves. What resulted were a number of telling quotes regarding the culture of the league during the time period in which the players involved in the lawsuit were active. Among numerous other comments about the culture that the NHL had fostered were the following:
(13:18) Nick Kypreos: “I don’t think we’re talking about anything as blatant as players being hospitalized… but we are talking about guys that probably shouldn’t have played, and they still played, because that was the culture back then.”
(13:40) Doug MacLean: “Do you think that the team forced them to play?…They felt they had to?”
Nick Kypreos: “Exactly. The culture back then was that they felt they had to play.”
(14:22) Nick Kypreos: “Back then, you needed an arm dangling by a thread not to play. Ok? And the players felt that and it had to do with job security and it had all of it to do that.”
(16:35) Nick Kypreos: “I will say this, that there’s a lot of people that are going to judge this as a cash grab or milking the system, [but] there’s some that need this. Ok? And they have the right to go after this.”
Former NHL player Nick Kypreos acknowledges that while the culture has since changed, the players involved in the lawsuit were subjected to a much tougher league and held to different standards than players today.
Watch the interview above to see what Mel had to say about the case and how the hosts feel about the complaint.