Court denies NHL player’s bid to collect insurance for game fight |

Court denies NHL player’s bid to collect insurance for game fight

DENVER ” An NHL player who claimed fighting was part of his job tried to collect from his insurance company because of an injury that keeps him from making a fist, but a Colorado appeals court ruled against him Thursday.

Warren Rychel, a former left wing for the Colorado Avalanche, sued Lloyd’s of London over his injury from a fight during a hockey game, saying it left him unable to perform his role as an “enforcer” ” playing a tough, physical game and fighting with opponents.

A trial judge had dismissed the suit and the state Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to reinstate it, saying Rychel’s professional athlete disability insurance covered only unexpected injuries.

Since Rychel said fighting was part of his job, and his injury came from a game fight, it could not be considered unexpected, the judges reasoned.

Rychel’s attorney, Mark Demorest, said Thursday Rychel wasn’t trying to hit anyone when he was hurt.

“He injured his hand when it got tangled in an opponent’s jersey,” Demorest said.

The appeals court rejected that argument.

“… Although Rychel may not have expected his hand to get caught in the other player’s hockey sweater, that is not the governing factor,” the ruling said.

Demorest declined to comment further.

Rychel is now a scout for the Phoenix Coyotes. He played nine seasons in the NHL, including stints with Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto and Anaheim, as well as Colorado.

He was with the 1996 Avalanche team that won the Stanley Cup.

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