NHL linesman Don Henderson has finally responded to the hit from behind that knocked him to the ice and left him unable to work again. The veteran linesman has filed a statement of claim against the Calgary Flames and defenceman Dennis Wideman, seeking $10.25-million in damages from the Jan. 27, 2016 incident at Scotiabank Saddledome.
In the claim, which was made public on Thursday, Henderson says he was "completely defenceless" when he was "violently struck" by Wideman from behind. The hit left Henderson with a concussion, a neck injury that required surgery, as well as "pain and numbness in his right arm and hand, an injury to his right knee, headaches, anxiety and depression." Henderson, who did not reply to a message left by The Globe and Mail on his cellphone, had declined comment in the weeks and months following the incident.
The Wideman-Henderson episode shook the NHL as much as it stunned onlookers in Calgary.
In a game against the Nashville Predators, Wideman took a jarring second-period hit from the Predators' Miikka Salomaki. While skating back to the Flames' bench, Wideman is alleged to have cross-checked Henderson, who had his back to the defenceman. Wideman left Henderson sprawled on the ice then sat on the bench. Henderson got to his feet and finished the game. Afterwards, Wideman said, "I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that."
The NHL suspended Wideman for 20 games. An arbitrator reduced it to 10 games.
In the statement of claim, Henderson contends Wideman "intentionally and deliberately struck" the linesman, who is suing for lost wages and future earnings and is seeking $250,000 in general and special damages.
Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court. The Flames declined comment.
With a report from The Canadian Press