Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hockey groups sue New York state

Restrictions on ‘high-risk’ sports challenged

By: Bennett Loudon//January 29, 2021

Hockey groups sue New York state

Restrictions on ‘high-risk’ sports challenged

By: Bennett Loudon//January 29, 2021//

Listen to this article

A group of amateur hockey groups are suing New York state over prohibitions imposed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buffalo law firm HoganWillig filed the suit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Department of Health and the Empire State Development Corp. challenging the “high risk” labeling and resulting limitations imposed by the state.

The plaintiffs include: The New York State Amateur Hockey Association (NYSAHA); the Western New York Amateur Hockey League (WNYAHL); and a group of ice rinks in the state.

The NYSAHA is the governing body of amateur ice hockey in New York state and includes 55,000 members. The WNYAHL is a youth ice hockey league with more than 350 teams for girls and boys ages 6 to 19, according to court papers.

The petition filed in state Supreme Court seeks an injunction against the enforcement of what the plaintiffs claim are “arbitrary and capricious restrictions as lacking scientific or medical data in support.”

After a news conference last week announcing the lawsuit, state officials updated their guidance on “high risk” sports. But the plaintiffs claim the change merely transfers the enforcement of the restrictions from the state to the county governments and fails to resolve the issue.

“The consequence of this classification is that competitive ice hockey has been suspended indefinitely in the state of New York,” according to the suit.

The state has restricted activity beyond “individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training,” according to the suit.

“New York’s children have responded admirably to the COVID-19 health crisis. Their worlds have been turned upside down due to issues many are too young to truly understand. They should not be required to endure arbitrary and capricious burdens beyond what is necessary,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

State law does not permit Cuomo to impose the restrictions that “unfairly single out children for harm,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims there is “no evidence that ice hockey games present an increased risk of spreading COVID-19. “

Skating rinks will lose millions of dollars in revenue as a result of the state restrictions and hockey officials will lose income because there will be no games to referee, the suit claims.

“Teams are traveling out of state to play games where it is not prohibited, and where the state of New York has no control over social distancing and other regulations,” according to the suit.

State Supreme Court Justice Donna W. Siwek recused herself from the case on Jan. 25. A new state law requires judges to put in writing, or state on the record, their reason for recusal. But the law provides an exception when the reason is of a personal nature or would cause embarrassment to the judge or a relative. Siwek declined to provide a reason under that exception.

Also on Monday, the state had the case moved out of state court to U.S. District Court.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035

Case Digests

See all Case Digests

Law News

See All Law News


How Is My Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...