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NHL aiming to keep commissioner Gary Bettman off witness stand in retired players' concussion lawsuit

Adam Proteau
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Gary Bettman (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg) Author: The Hockey News

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NHL aiming to keep commissioner Gary Bettman off witness stand in retired players' concussion lawsuit

Adam Proteau
By:

In the most recent tactical manoeuvre between the NHL and a group of retired players suing the league over concussion-related issues, the the NHL filed documents Wednesday aiming to throw out a plaintiff request commissioner Gary Bettman be deposed before July 1.

In the most recent tactical manoeuvre between the NHL and a group of retired players suing the league over concussion effects, the NHL filed documents Wednesday in response to a plaintiff request commissioner Gary Bettman be deposed prior to July 1.

The documents filed by the league liken a Bettman deposition to "fishing" for relevant information. The league claims the group of retired players have dozens of names of potential witnesses with knowledge of team safety and concussion issues. As such, the players have enough material "to 'start proving their case,' ", the league argued, and do not need Bettman's testimony in that regard. The league also argued the players were not proceeding with the discovery process in a timely fashion, and referenced a court decision in a similar suit that involved the National Football League; the decision refused access to the NFL Network's Chief Executive Officer on the grounds "less intrusive" means could be utilized to acquire vital information.

Attorneys for the former players – whose growing group includes Bernie Nicholls, Butch Goring, Gary Leeman, Dan LaCouture and Reed Larson – suing the league in a U.S. district court in Minnesota have received 7,772 pages of documents through discovery, including insurance policies and the NHL's guide and record book.

Unless the judge does the unexpected and throws out the lawsuit, many believe the case is going to continue for months, if not years.

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NHL aiming to keep commissioner Gary Bettman off witness stand in retired players' concussion lawsuit