Common Law Negligence
In general terms, negligence is tested by determining whether the person or persons being sued behaved prudently, given all of the circumstances surrounding the damaging incident. While all forms of liability exposure are important, Hockey Canada considers Common Law Negligence to be the most significant liability threat arising from its operations.
For purposes of risk and insurance management consideration the exposure can be divided into two further subcategories:
Hockey carries an inherent risk of injury that is sharply reduced when the correct rules of play are enforced, and when the game is conscientiously supervised by experienced properly motivated people. When these conditions are present, we promote playing the game at its best, and good Risk Management.
Risk Management is intended to eliminate avoidable injuries, and to minimize the effect of those that may be unavoidable in the conduct of a body contact sport. It is also intended to meet an important secondary requirement. If an injury occurs in a game that is being played and managed properly, it is unlikely that any of us can be reasonably accused of having been negligent. Alternatively, if the same injury occurs in a game that has been poorly run, we may be forced into court with very little that we can use by way of defense.
Negligence is measured in a court of law against a standard of "prudent conduct," as well as the "degree of duty" that was owed the person who has become injured. The younger the players, the greater the degree of duty that we owe them.
Organizing and conducting league play involves arena operations, fundraising, transportation, meals, accommodation and a myriad of other activities. The promoters, sponsors and organizers must assume the responsibility for dealing with all of these matters "prudently", and with the sense of "duty" that is appropriate to the circumstances. Liability is only avoided by consistently exercising care and common sense.