Court Rules Hockey 'Enforcer' Should Get Workers' Comp

November 7, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Virginia appeals court has upheld a finding by the state's workers' compensation authority granting benefits to a former minor-league hockey player who injured his shoulder in a fight he claimed his coach told him to start.

The appellate judges signed off on a decision from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that Ty A. Jones’ injury came out of his employment as a hockey “enforcer,” noting that “fighting is an integral part of the game of hockey.”

According to the Associated Press news report, Jones’ former team, the Norfolk Admirals, had argued that he was not entitled to the benefits because the fight in which he was injured actually constituted willful misconduct.

Jones, a right-wing power forward with the Admirals, instigated a fight with an opposing player during a game in 2002. Jones said the coach told him to “go get” the player. Jones got hurt, and an orthopedic surgeon later put six screws in his right shoulder. The athlete wore a sling for almost six months.

The player was awarded workers’ compensation in 2004 for the seven months he underwent rehabilitation. The ruling did not give a dollar amount.

Jones eventually played for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in the 1998-99 season and, after leaving the Admirals, for the Florida Panthers in 2003-04.

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