Two months after the Superior Court authorized a class action request filed by ex-hockey players to obtain compensation for abuse suffered in the junior ranks, the affected parties will attempt to appeal.

La Presse has learned that the Canadian Hockey League, the Maritimes Quebec Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the 18 teams that make it up will go to the Court of Appeal next week in order to obtain the authorization to contest the initial judgment.

On April 10, Judge Jacques G. Bouchard of the Superior Court of Quebec accepted the request for authorization of the class action filed by the Kugler Kandestin law firm. The main applicant for this approach is Carl Latulippe, former player of the Saguenéens de Chicoutimi and the Voltigeurs de Drummondville. A first-round pick in the 1994 draft, Mr. Latulippe says, among other things, that he was the victim of several abuses from certain veterans among the Saguenéens, including violence, intimidation and attacks. La Presse reported his story in the spring of 2023.

The request targeted “all hockey players who suffered abuse while they were minors and playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, since July 1, 1969.” Mr. Latulippe and his lawyers argue that the leagues and teams demonstrated systemic negligence and tolerated a toxic culture.

Even if this request was “formulated in a broad and ambitious manner”, Judge Bouchard considered that it met the criteria which must be met for a collective action to be authorized.

During the representations on the request for authorization, the QMJHL, through its lawyer Christian Trépanier, had notably argued that “out of 18 of the teams targeted in the appeal, 13 did not exist at the time of the facts”. Thus, “joining everyone in the same claim and demanding their joint liability without regard to their concrete actions” appeared to him to be an “indefensible thesis”. This argument can be expected to be taken up in the attempted appeal.