Walter v. Western Hockey League et al.
Employment Class Action
Update: September 11, 2017 – Date for appeals has been set
May 10, 2018 has been set as the date the Alberta Court of Appeal will hear both the defendants’ appeal against certification and the plaintiffs’ appeal of the decision not to certify the American teams.
Update: July 17, 2017 – Plaintiffs and Defendants file appeals
The defendants have appealed the decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench, arguing that the class action should not have been certified.
The plaintiffs have appealed the refusal of the Court of Queen’s Bench to certify the American teams.
The appeals will be heard by the Alberta Court of Appeal.
Update: June 15, 2017 – The class action has been certified
The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has certified the class action in respect to the players and teams in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. However it refused to certify the American teams in the league.
Update: February 10, 2017 – Hearing to continue
Arguments were not completed in the certification application this week. The parties will return to court on April 18 to complete their arguments.
What this class action is about
A proposed class action has been filed against the Canadian Hockey League, the Western Hockey League (WHL) and all of the teams in the WHL on behalf of former and current major junior hockey players.
Major junior hockey is big business, generating revenues for the teams, while the devoted young hockey players who work their hearts out do not get paid. The class action aims to change that.
The plaintiffs’ position is that the Standard Player Agreement is actually an employment contract where the players agreed to provide services to the club. If this class action is certified, the Court will decide whether hockey players are employees. If the Court concludes they are employees, eligible players would be entitled to receive minimum wage and overtime pay, just like other young people who work for businesses.
The class action was filed by Charney Lawyers PC, a firm specializing in class actions. Goldblatt Partners subsequently joined as co-counsel. A related class action was filed in Ontario in respect to the players and teams in the Ontario Hockey League.
The application for certification is scheduled to be heard in Calgary from February 7 to 10, 2016.
The representative plaintiffs
The representative plaintiffs, Lukas Walter, Travis McEvoy and Kyle O’Connor are former WHL members.
Class action website
More information about the proposed class action, including copies of many of the documents filed with the Court, is available at chlclassaction.com.
Frequently asked questions about class actions.