The decision to award a young Quebec hockey player $8 million for taking an illegal hit that left him paralyzed is being challenged.
The defence filed a request for an appeal in the case involving Andrew Zaccardo, who was 16 when he was checked from behind, along the boards, during a Midget AA game in 2010.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Daniel Payette’s ruling, which came down on Feb. 3, is believed to be the highest amount of money ever awarded in Canada in a case concerning hockey violence.
In his 24-page judgment, Payette ruled that the illegal hit on Zaccardo, which was made by defenceman Ludovic Gauvreau-Beaupré, was not accidental.
It found Gauvreau-Beaupré to be at fault. Gauvreau-Beaupré, along with Chartris Insurance Company of Canada, which insures players in leagues associated with Hockey Canada and Hockey Quebec, are responsible for paying the sum.
In the appeal request, obtained by CBC News, the defence says that the judge made several errors in law, such as dismissing the testimony of the referee.
It also states that the judge was wrong to conclude that a player does not assume any risks in the game of hockey. The court document says that once players steps on the ice, they assume the responsibility of taking hits or getting injured, given that physical contact is part of the sport.
“The judge was misguided in concluding that even in the case of a contact sport like hockey, where physical contact is permitted, the participant does not assume the risk of another player’s mistake, whereas many regulations exist to allow for penalties to be given by the referee to punish behaviour that goes against the rules, all of which is part of the game,” the document states.
The defence, Robinson, Sheppard, Shapiro, is representing Gauvreau-Beaupré and Hockey Canada’s insurance company.