The parents of a youth hockey player are suing an opposing hockey association and its coach after their son was injured last year during a game at the Huntington Center.
Daniel and Jennifer Bison’s son, identified in the lawsuit as J.B., suffered a broken collarbone and severe kidney laceration after crashing into an exposed bench wall Feb. 25. The suit alleges Raymond Foley, coach for the Plymouth Stingrays, opened the door as J.B. skated with the puck along the boards on a breakaway during the third period of a 6-2 game. J.B. was a member of the Sylvania North Stars.
According to the suit, a Plymouth player identified as C.K. was skating hard to catch up with J.B. and was about to check him.
“As J.B. skated up along the boards beside his own North Stars bench, Defendant Raymond Foley cracked the Plymouth bench door open,” the suit states. “Then, immediately before J.B. was hit by the Plymouth player pursuing him, and when it was clear that the Plymouth player was about to check J.B. hard against the wall at the Plymouth bench door, Defendant Raymond Foley opened the Plymouth bench door wide, exposing the edges and corners of a portion of the wall.”
The suit adds there was no reason for the door to be opened or anything “to indicate that a line change was about to occur for either team.”
J.B. crashed into the exposed wall and was unable to get up. He was examined by a Toledo Walleye trainer and was later hospitalized for two days.
"Player safety should be the top priority and responsibility for these coaches, and Mr. Foley never should have opened the bench door in front of an active play," attorney Katie Harris said. "By doing so he showed no care whatsoever for the players on the ice, and J.B. was injured much more seriously than he would have been if that door had stayed closed."
The suit – filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Toledo – seeks damages in excess of $75,000 and also names the Plymouth Canton Hockey Association as a defendant. A message left with the league was not returned as of Tuesday afternoon.
According to the lawsuit, the North Stars jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and the game turned "chippy." Mr. Foley could be heard "yelling loudly at players during stoppage of play and between periods."
Plymouth head coach Darrin Sylvester was serving a match penalty and was not permitted to be seated on the bench for the game. The suit says the hockey association did not properly train Mr. Foley.
J.B.’s kidney injury was initially not known. While recuperating at home, he began experiencing severe stomach pain and found blood in his urine.
According to the lawsuit, J.B. planned to try out for a teams in a higher level the following season. As a result of his injury, he was forced to move down a league.
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